Friday, June 1, 2012
The Tree of Life (2011) review
I don't know if this could be considered THE BEST film of 2011, but it's definitely one of the most beautiful.
PLOT:In this film, we follow a Midwestern family in the 1950's led by a tough father (Brad Pitt) and an open-minded mother (Jessica Chastain). Mainly, we follow the life of the eldest son, Jack (played as a child by Hunter McCracken, and played as an adult by Sean Penn) and his struggle with choosing which path of rules to follow, his parents' impression on him, and the question of faith. It's a pretty good plot idea, executed beautifully.
ACTING:The acting wasn't the main focus of the film, but it was good nevertheless. Everybody did a great job, including Sean Penn as adult Jack, who barely appears in the film. The other shiners were Brad Pitt as the father, Jessica Chastain as the mother, and Hunter McCracken as young Jack. McCracken did very well for a child actor, despite the deep southern accent that would get on some people's nerves.
SCORE:The score was a beautiful mix of classical music, monk-like chants, and a few subtle organ/piano themes. I believe the score carried a good bit of this film along and enhanced most of its fascinating imagery very well. It doesn't get in the way of the intricate sound effects, however. They combine together to make a symphony of perfect sound division.
EFFECTS:The effects in here ranged from rolling clouds, to volcanic eruptions, to cosmic clusters, and even to a few dinosaurs. I believe the effects, real and CG alike, were beautiful and led the imagery of the film way ahead.
CAMERAWORK:The director incorporated a good bit of nice shots, cut-scenes, pans, and angles that set a certain emotion or captured a certain beauty that could be captured few other ways. Needless to say, I loved it.
OTHER CONTENT:I'm new to Terrence Malick's direction style, and I have to admit that he has an artistic vision of beauty, utter life, picturesque faith, and vague metaphors, which I'll explain in a minute. This film reminds me of "2001", because it's filmed in a similar way that it comes off as beautiful. It has character development, beauty, wisdom, emotion, a story, and even some experienced filmmaking. The only flaw I could find in this film is that Malick's use of unrelated cutscenes as vague metaphors is often misleading and confusing; it was hard to follow at times.
OVERALL,an awesome film with a beautifully executed plot, great acting, beautiful score, beautiful effects, loving camerawork, and everything a film of this type needs, but it can be very hard to follow at times.