THOUGHTS ON TERRENCE MALICK’S TREE OF LIFE
This is not an easy film to review. You know those movies that are ‘love or hate’? Well, TREE OF LIFE manages to bring out both emotions in me at the same time. There are moments of wonder and beauty. Then, there are moments when I was struggling to stay awake. As my little diagram above suggests – go prepared. You will need energy to stay with the film throughout.
The film uses the loss of a son & brother to anchor its various themes. Family, and the bonds that are made is an important element. Parenthood, and how much of themselves parents impart into their children is studied, as well as the bonds of brotherhood. The trials of growing up and, I know it sounds hokey, but love are major themes. If anything, Love is one of the most important ideas, and is referred to throughout.
There is an ongoing analysis of God, and our relationship with God. As an Athiest, I would read this one way, but I’m sure a believer would read it another. There are no answers here, just an awful lot of questions.
Malick will take us between the importance of tiny, tiny details through to a galactic-eye-view. There are Dinosaurs. The question I was asking myself was whether this makes each Human life insignificant on such a large stage, or a complete wonder to be cherished.
Much like the cave on Dagobah in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, you will only get from the film what you take with you.
Watch it on the big screen, I don’t believe the visuals, or the stunning use of music will have the same impact on DVD.
I’m also going to be the only person on the planet saying this – but I wish that some of it was in 3D. The more impressive scenes would have been simply jaw-dropping in 3D, and I believe it would have enhanced some of what I was taking from the film. But then, everyone is different.