Friday, 8 February 2013

"The Tree Of Life" by Terrence Malick

“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow.”

A Bible quotation that makes reference to the origin of the Earth.
A red glime moving slowly. A girl looking through the window. The sun shining. A field full of sunflowers. The girl in front of some cows. Her father hugs her. Afterwards, the lady is happily going on the swings in front of her sons and husband. A waterfall. A tree. The postman gives her a letter with bad news.

So begins the 2011 American movie “The Tree Of Life”, written and directed by Terrence Malick. It has an approximate duration of 138 minutes.

This movie tells the story of a 1950s family in Texas who is trying to cope with some life problems after experimenting a tragic accident.

Concerning its subject, it could be drawn that it treats life and death, religion and happiness. In fact, the starting screen with the quote is an advancement of those subjects.

The most detachable aspect of this long movie is its staging; the main work done by its director. It contains a lot of surprising shots and camera movements. There is a huge flashback that recedes until the origin of the Earth, with the phenomenon known as Big Bang. This process is not shown in a traditional way, but in a very experimental way. And the word “experimental” is literal, because they were made by a cosmology expert by experiments with smoke, paint and other elements. As an interesting data, some of the shots of this movie were recorded before the production, so they were archival footage.

"The Tree Of Life" Alternative Poster

Generally speaking, “The Tree Of Life” is a very conceptual movie. That means that the story is not shown explicitly. They are a group of pictures that watched as a whole they transmit some ideas.

The music, by Alexandre Desplat, is also notable. Actually, it sounds as heavenly music. The musician declared to have composed the music before the shooting, which is not common at all.

Also, the cast cannot happen unnoticed. It includes well-known actors as Brad Pitt as Mr. O’Brien, Sean Penn as Jack and Jessica Chastain as Mrs. O’Brien. It also stars several young actors as Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler in the role of R.L. and Tye Sheridan in the role of Steve.

The screenplay of this movie is not a common one. According to the director’s words, they were some scenes that described happenings but they were not pre-established; they were just an approximation. However, this lack of sticking brings sometimes a lack of rationalism, and, what is more, hardly understandable.

In general, we could describe “The Tree Of Life” as an audiovisual spectacle, and that is if fact the reason why it is recommendable.

“Nature only wants to please itself.” The Tree Of Life


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