The Tree of Life review

On the surface a relatively simple tale of a boy coming to terms with life and the difficult relationship with his father, director Terrence Malick’s ambitions stretch far beyond the wide suburban Texan streets of his childhood and not far beneath the surface is an epic, truly breathtaking tale of life and death.

A challenging structure holds a frequently surreal story but Malick combines all elements superbly, bringing out the best in his actors and, it can’t go without mentioning, utilising some of the most magnificent, beautiful cinematography you are ever likely to see.

There is a religious slant that can be irksome at first but this is balanced with a scientific thrust, exemplified by a literally awesome, lengthy break depicting the birth of the universe, the emergence of life and (OK, less scientifically) of compassion. Malick boils the world down to two perspectives; “grace and nature” and the religious aspect is important, necessary and, like it or not, hugely influential on the world in which we live. These are the thought processes of the characters (not to mention the majority of the planet’s population) and the questions they ask about life and death, after all.

The Tree of Life is something bold to say the least. Something somewhat special. And something that hasn’t been seen before. For anyone who cares one iota about the cinematic art form, this should not be missed and is worth careful analysis, maybe helped along with a repeat viewing.

5 out of 5

13th Jul 2011 | Official site | On IMDb

Comments

I feel exhausted after watching this.

Matt Sephton, 20th Sep 2011