The Tree of Life reviews

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:12 pm

What is going on with all these spammers lately?
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:12 pm

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

"BRAD PITT

(whispering)

I get it now! Terrence Malick wanted to waste our time so we knew that life is exactly that but with hopefully a heaven. But only if you want one. Kind of."
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby HollywoodZ » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:31 pm

This is a pretty spot on abridged version of the script: http://www.the-editing-room.com/the-tree-of-life.html

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:45 pm

I finally caught up with this, and have a lot to say (although that has been covered by most here already).

One interesting tidbit, the DVD starts with a message about how the film is best viewed with the volume turned up very loud...I know Malick is controlling, but this was a new one for me.
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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Dien » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:21 pm

A lot can be said about this film. Very little can also be said about this filim. It all depends on your mindset.

The film is a two-hour poem - symbolic, structured, minimal but evocative, almost like a song. There's an intro and an outro, verses, choruses, and a bridge all centered around the Tree of Life - a theme present thoughout the film literally and figuratively. Many theories come to mind when pondering the entity that represents this tree. Historically, the Tree of Life is what connects everything in this world. It is a cliche of many religions and philosophies, definitions only varying slightly in detail.

For many religious viewers, the tree will represent their God. This is a reasonable conclusion. Its spirituality is strong and it doesn't dedicate itself to any one, true religion. Personally, I see it as universal, even in the spiritual sense. The family itself is Christian, but maybe only for psychological/sociological analysis. The mother is of grace and nurture, a "love thy neighbor" trait. The father, nature, ever-adapting, kill or be killed - he does not spare the rod and demands respect and honor, but his love for his family is undeniable. Both parents lack the extremeties of the other and it has stunted their emotional growth. This idea is most apparent when the father is playing the piano, a professional dream he never fullfilled because of his duty to support a family, only to see his middle-child playing a beautiful arrangement on guitar at such a young age. This is a kid who could follow his dreams but unfortunately, and tragically, never will.

Then there's the light: the beginning of the universe, the light at the end of the tunnel, the womb, a hand covering illumination. Connected, life and death. The entrance and exit of both the film and life in itself. We see the formation of galaxies, nebulas, and life on Earth. Nature, wounded and stranded on shore, being forced to adapt and overcome its circumstance. Nurture, showing mercy and compassion for a weaker life form in struggle. Here we see the connection between the past and the relative present where a parent must learn the delicate balance in raising a child.

Then memories come to play. A glimpse of a familiar image, like a tree, can spark memories of the past. And in memories, everything is connected. They branch out and create the bigger picture. In memories, everything lives forever and not a single leaf falls.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:38 pm

I just tried watching The Tree of Life. About 35 minutes of it. Then fast forwarded through about another 35 minutes, before I decided it wasn't worth it. That got me halfway through the film.

I'm sorry to disagree with those of you on the board.

The concept was great. The movie got better, but not enough to hold my interest.

The execution did not bring enough substance and depth. At least half of what I saw was based on photos that one would find with inspirational messages on walls and desks. Or scenes from movies shown in classrooms to awe students about the power and mystery of nature and in houses of worship to inspire parishioners to the power of an almighty power.

The images are powerful and align well with the struggle of faith that the family goes through. But the images mainly provide a sheen of pure beauty, inspiration, power and metaphysical meditation to process. There are some character details at the start and finally actual character once we reached the halfway point of the film. But, I could not give Malick the benefit of the doubt any longer.

Overall, the film is shallow and just rises above pretentiousness. I was looking for more non-generic substance.

The cinematography is right on. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain are excellent.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:57 pm

Maybe I'm just growing up, but I adored this. I prefered the earlier, (more) abstract portions than the Waco scenes (though a second viewing is in order), but there were so many gorgeously lyrical moments in the latter parts of the film that I was pretty much agog.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:49 pm

Saw this yesterday, finally. Had to drive to Nashville to see it, and decided I'd watch it twice, since the theatre wasn't showing anything else I was interested in. The first viewing was better for me, mainly because I (stupidly) skipped lunch and dinner, and that brought on a really bad headache at about 7:00 last night, which was an hour into the second viewing.

Pretty blown away by it though. Like Mister Tee, I'm not very interested in the question of What It All Means. The creation sequence works beautifully, I think. (I do wonder if it's significant that the piece of music during this sequence--Zbigniew Preisner's Lacrimosa--is essentially a requiem, or if it's just a piece that Malick liked and thought worked. Preisner wrote it in tribute to Krzystof Kieslowski.) The final sequence may be nonsensical and pretentious on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level, I was pretty overwhelmed by it. You could get into a discussion about if it represents the afterlife, but to me it works on a more basic level: It speaks to the possibility of reconciling with our past, and coming to peace with it. The bulk of the movie--the 50's section, was right up there with things like To Kill a Mockingbird in the depiction of childhood and growing up. (That first montage of Jack growing up from about 3 to 12 blew me away.) It's definitely more abstract, but I think almost anyone is going to be familiar with many of the things in that sequence: Random, inexplecable acts of cruelty we inflict on siblings (my sister once took the shade off a lamp and turned the lamp off, and stuck it to my neck because she said she wanted to see if the bulb was still hot when it was off); the way somehow our relationship with our parents and siblings just changes at some point, not necessarily because of a single incident, but because WE change; the guilt when we do something wrong (Jack's line after he's returned home from breaking into the house--"Don't look at me", or something along those lines--is spot on.). It's a pretty amazing piece of work. The three boys are all great, totally believable as normal children and totally believable as brothers. I don't know if they're great actors, or just well-used by Malick, but you don't see kids in movies like that very often.

There's a lot more to say about it, but between this and Of Gods and Men, 2011 is looking like a great year for movies.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby danfrank » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:28 pm

I loved it. It so accurately captures a child’s view of growing up, filtered through an adult’s assemblage of fleeting memories. I read somewhere that Malick’s own brother suicided in the 1960s. It's interesting then to view The Tree of Life as an elaborate love poem to him, and a sincere grappling with life and death, and also with LIFE and DEATH. It seems to celebrate the magnificence of life while exposing the profound vulnerability that comes with it.

The scenes depicting the relationship between the two older brothers were especially beautiful, as was the whole sequence just after the dinosaurs showing the family’s early years. I’ll have to see this a few times, but my initial impression is that this is one of the rare films that rises to the level of great art.
Last edited by danfrank on Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby rolotomasi99 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:09 pm

mayukh wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:And Jessica Chastain, looking much like a young Liv Ullmann, has a face made for the cinema, or at least a certain kind of cinema that knows how to use faces, as Malick's films do.


I hope, I truly hope, that this immensely gifted actress becomes a big star. And if she doesn't, she at least deserves some place in film history for the images she and Malick created, together, in this very beautiful, very ambitious (and so incredibly flawed – I'll articulate this all later) piece of cinema.


Well, she is going to be seen in 5 more films in 2011 and 2012 (including Malick's next project). Mainstream audiences will see her first in THE HELP and then in THE WETTEST COUNTY IN THE WORLD. If she does not become a star, it will certainly not be due to a lack of trying.
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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby mayukh » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:55 pm

The Original BJ wrote:And Jessica Chastain, looking much like a young Liv Ullmann, has a face made for the cinema, or at least a certain kind of cinema that knows how to use faces, as Malick's films do.


I hope, I truly hope, that this immensely gifted actress becomes a big star. And if she doesn't, she at least deserves some place in film history for the images she and Malick created, together, in this very beautiful, very ambitious (and so incredibly flawed – I'll articulate this all later) piece of cinema.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:21 am

Johnny Guitar wrote:Yes, Richard Neer's erudition, and the openness of his mind, are impressive!

Cavell is a fairly major philosophical name in Anglo-American philosophy - yet at the same time, kind of a loner in that he's not part of a "school" or a "wave." I admit I haven't read much Cavell - mostly excerpts from The World Viewed and Pursuits of Happiness - but people who admire his work seem very dedicated to it, and tend to think of him as a completely neglected figure.

Here is an interview that he gives where he covers a lot of his interests as well as biography, if you're curious. (The interviewer tends to ask inane questions, but...)

http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people ... -con0.html (transcript)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIIKqEl8xEw (clip)



Yes, the questions may be a bit on the generic side, but the answers are what you'd expect from a real philosopher (the one to "what does a philosopher do" especially). The man is obviously intelligent, and the interview is interesting for several reasons - including these two. First of all, it shows that American philosopher isn't an oxymoron, or at least that Ralph Waldo Emerson isn't the only American philosopher, something that in Europe - in France and Italy especially, where philosophers tend to appear daily on tv talks shows, become political leaders and marry famous singers, models and showgirls - many like to believe.
And also, I find it very appropriate that an American philosopher devoted part (and the man is careful to point out, only part) of his thoughts and writings to cinema, which is of course the American art, or at least the American cultural industry, par excellence.

But then, of course, Cavell himself admits that he grew up - and, I'll add, he was lucky to grow up - during the times of Bergman, Fellini, Godard, directors whose movies had an intellectual content which wasn't only challenging but also on the same level as the best contemporary novels and essays. Today it's different, and this is why something like The Tree of Life - while probably not perfect - should be, I believe, treasured rather than quickly dismissed.

Marc Furstenau's piece is quite clear about Cavell's view on Malick's cinema - though mostly about Days of Heaven. I wonder if Cavell will write something about The Tree of Life soon.

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Leeder » Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:20 am

Marc Furstenau, the second reader on my dissertation, also had an essay on Malick and Heidegger: http://www.vertigomagazine.co.uk/showar ... z=0&id=494

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby Johnny Guitar » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:57 am

Yes, Richard Neer's erudition, and the openness of his mind, are impressive!

Cavell is a fairly major philosophical name in Anglo-American philosophy - yet at the same time, kind of a loner in that he's not part of a "school" or a "wave." I admit I haven't read much Cavell - mostly excerpts from The World Viewed and Pursuits of Happiness - but people who admire his work seem very dedicated to it, and tend to think of him as a completely neglected figure.

Here is an interview that he gives where he covers a lot of his interests as well as biography, if you're curious. (The interviewer tends to ask inane questions, but...)

http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people ... -con0.html (transcript)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIIKqEl8xEw (clip)

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Re: The Tree of Life reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:36 pm

Johnny Guitar wrote:For anyone interested in Malick, I came across a link to this article on facebook - it's on The New World rather than The Tree of Life, but it covers some of the issues of Malick's aesthetics as well as his relationship to philosophy.

http://nonsite.org/issue-2/terrence-malicks-new-world

I've only started to read it. The author, Richard Neer, is a relatively young - but established - professor of art history who specializes in Ancient Greek art, but has published some excellent recent work on cinema (mainly Godard).




Nice to see someone - anyone, but I'd say especially an American - on easy terms with Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Wagner, Rousseau (and I must confess that I had never heard of Stanley Cavell - this shows how ignorant I am I guess. But all his books are translated into Italian, and I'm already looking for his Pursuits of Happiness). The piece is, of course, excellent, and while one can adapt most of what this writer says to Tree of Life as well, it would be interesting to read his specific view on Malick's latest.

Anyway - what a director.


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