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The Tree of Life



Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)


Hmm, ah...I don't know what to really write here. I guess that's because I don't know what to really make of Tree of Life. I know it was a really well made film, but I'm not sure to what ends it was trying to achieve?

I gather that this is a Christian themed movie? I heard a lot about God and grace and so I believe the film's idea is that: we're all connected through a higher grand plan than stretches back to the dawn of time, everything that happens is because of that master plan...and ultimately that which is lost will be found.

Do I have that right? Is that what the film is about? If so I don't have a problem with that. I can like a film regardless of it's message. Unless that message is hammered over your head repeatedly, but Tree of Life didn't do that.

I liked the narrative part, it was very different in how the cinematography and direction only showed us the moments in the families life and from up close. It was like we were witnessing events without the film taking a all-knowing narrative view. And in that way we're never quite sure what's happening, or will happen, and we really don't need to know that because the film is about the moments that make up a life.

Though I couldn't shake the feeling that writer & director Terrence Malick 'borrowed' the idea of his film from Tarkovsky's Solaris. Some of the visual sequences in the montages were strikingly similar to Tarkovsky's vision of the Solaris planet. And the whole idea/vision of lost loved ones all coming together in the end...with a visual montage climax presenting that idea was much a Solaris thing.

I'd call this a solid movie. I'm just not sure what to make of the film.