The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. So let's try something different. The rest is budget Murder, She Wrote with demonic possession thrown in to narrow down the suspects. If your friend died, and you dealt with it over the course of a year, and you believed it was settled, your other friend was sentenced, possibly wrongly, for the murder, why would you then fly all the way to Siberia a year later to say goodbye to them again? Totally unrealistic from the start. The Great Amazon Prime Crapfest strikes again. To be honest, I went to watch Midnight in Paris but arrived 10 minutes late, so I went to see The Tree of Life.
One of the most pretentious pieces of pseudo-intellectual garbage I have ever seen. Official Synopsis of The Body Tree: When a group of Americans travel to Russian Siberia to honor the memory of their murdered friend, they partake in an unusual ceremony that goes awry setting a demon free. They might as well be telling you how they feel about the colour blue. I don't expect the majority of viewers to agree with me as it already has a decent rating, but if you searched for people who hated this film then I suspect you will probably dislike it, and I am going to spare you the unfortunate experience I had of going to see it. Premise seemed sort of interesting, but very unlikely. There is no plot - only a stream of images following two boys through their childhood and also a flashback to the the creation of the earth. Sean Penn is there too, but he's useless: the director gives him nothing to do, so he just makes ugly faces at the camera as if he's suffering from terrible heartburn.
The film begins with a peek into the life of a 1950s American family that suffers a tragedy. The bad, however, is that you are dropped into the scenario with really no idea what is going on. This is a film of gesture and movement, of happiness and insecurity, of learning to love and learning to fear. This happened more times than I would like to admit. There's no hero, no challenge, no arc. The acts are very disjoint, and although they are woven together by common thematic elements, the experience can be very disorienting. Just when a scene was starting to get good it felt like it would abruptly jump to a different scene.
This is not a good sign. If they all had a little more of a unique personality I feel that it could have made what was coming a bit more dramatic. Though presented in a very fragmented way, this part should be easy enough to follow. In the parking lot there was a man who hated the movie so much I feared for my life. The photography is great, however that is not what a film is about. The film charts the paths of a family of characters. Hell at the time that this review is being written it has only been less than a day and I am already having a hard time remembering most of what happens in the film.
The characters themselves were also a bit bland. Douglas Trumbull was a special effects consultant and many might immediately think of comparing this sequence with the 'Stargate' climax of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The cinematography was quite impressive but the overall result was oh-so-dull. And if, like me, religion is not your thing, don't worry, the film's wonders do not require belief to reveal themselves. This mirrors the love-hate relationship that each character has with goodness. With the new film The Body Tree, the synopsis caught my attention right away, but did it deliver? It is this fusion of magnificent meaningful imagery and musical montage that lifts this work to levels barely conceived of by most filmmakers.
Hey -The woods are a scary place. Several people were intent on discussing the films philosophical merits, but this only infuriated the angry guy, so everyone just went home. The trouble is that Malick may have been too uncompromising. I mean, no matter how abstract a movie is, there must be something the viewer can cling to, something the viewer cares about. . The Tree of Life is nothing like that, because there's simply no plot. This is a good and bad thing.
There remains to be said a few words on Malick's stylistic approach. This film gathered another award: my life's greatest cinematic disappointment. I wanted to leave after 20 minutes but my girlfriend insisted to stay to the end to see what the point was. They characters weren't introduced very well so it was hard to keep track of who was who and they did a horrible job explaining what happened to their friend that caused them to wind up in Siberia in the first place other than that she inexplicably ended up dead. After that, we return to the 1950s. Right from the beginning, you are thrown into the midst of it all, following the group of friends as they are already arriving at the location where the events take place. As the demon hops from body to body the group of friends have to learn to trust eachother or be destroyed.
The much vaunted 'history of the universe' sequence is stunning and is like a poetic editing of all of the most stunning images from science documentaries. In the mother's opening line of dialogue she recounts how 'The nuns told us that there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. The funny thing is, the set-up is fairly quick: in 10 minutes you know what the deal is. Seriously, this guy was about to plow his car through a storefront. All in all, this is one of those films, where it is more important to let one's psyche experience the incredible richness of the film's emotions, than to try to understand it intellectually - at first viewing, at any rate! Now the story itself is nothing new. But it takes a village to make it look like a real threat in the woods. The suspense of this movie is undermined by the fact that it's basically a reprise of every other movie of the same genre -- they could have done a better job.
I'm just going to tell you what to expect. Though I will admit that the ceremony scene was a nice touch and was a breath of fresh air. I don't mean to be derogatory about this film. Normally, in describing a film one says this is the story of. Hopefully, some of you will find more enjoyment out of it than I did. However, I convinced myself to sit through it until the end no matter what.