In 2011 Terrence Malick released his film The Tree of Life. Upon it's initial release it was said that it was met with both boo's and standing ovations.
I found a blu-ray copy of this film for $7 at Michael's not thinking much of it. I remember thinking this film had great cinematography at the least, it will be on in the background as I write or work on other various things.
What I had not counted on was for this film to completely CAPTIVATE me. I honestly can't stop thinking about it. Even as I write this, It's on for a fourth night in a row. This film is truly an experience in only a way that cinema can deliver.
This film isn't even candy for your eyes, I'd say it's nourishment. EVERY frame, shot, angle, is perfect. This film is pre- Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant yet Malick worked with DP Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki to bring something magnificent to screen. The film is in this sporadic narrative that does't bother to tell the story in sequential order, instead it gives you these images, these feelings, and pulls you in to find your own relationship with the story. Much like other films Chivo worked on, this takes that approach to embrace natural lighting and it works in a way that makes this film feel like a dream. In a dream you don't have the beginning and end like a regular story, sure things happen in an order but dreams are raw subconscious. The Tree of Life offers that same feeling for it's viewers. Matched with theses perfect shots is the camera movement. It's in such a way that feels so natural. The camera feels like it's where it's suppose to be at all times and that's something that, as a filmmaker makes this film stand out from the rest.
Brad Pitt soars as he would in a film like this as does Jessica Chastain. The real show stealer by far is Hunter McCracken who play's "Jack" as a young boy. This kid made me really empathize with him, from his looks alone. He's brought up raised by these two different parents who are suppose to symbolize different things in his life. The other things that play well are how other people and events affect is perception of the world and even God.
One of my favorite parts is these questions that he ask God after seeing a boy from his neighborhood drown to death.
"Where were you? You let a boy die. You let anything happen. Why should I be good...if you aren't."
Sean Penn plays an older Jack, and his performance is just as nuanced.
The music also is superb it gracefully matches the film in a way that, can't go unnoticed. Beautiful shots, beautiful music, what else could you want.
The words I write for this film cannot compare to just sitting down and watching it. It reminds me a lot of Kubrick's work. Films that are designed as puzzles and require more than one viewing to "get". The Tree of Life is a film that should be put in a time capsule and studied when years from now people ask about life as a human being.