Title: The Tree of Life
Director/Writer: Terrence Malick
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
I have no trouble recalling my maiden voyage in Mr. Malick’s cinematic set-ups, 6 years ago THE NEW WORLD (2005), which I almost forsook due to an extreme frazzle (a grudge rising from anger more than tiresomeness), then after a couple of years, the second time is with DAYS OF HEAVEN (1978), which unexpectedly procures my staunch affection, a 9/10. So the third one comes now, notched up the Golden Palm in Cannes last year, it’s Malick at his best, though a 139 minutes running time could be physically exhausting and mentally innovative.
The film is entangled with an eternal philosophy of life and contains tons of visual stunts to eclipse any films before, but the inexplicable distance is also like an eternal wheel, it defies all the habitual principles of film-watching, the uneasiness of a lengthy exposition of the familiar confrontation (in particular the father-son bond), the handheld camera whose angle at most of its time complies in a child’s prospect, plus an unlooked-for jump in between which relates to surrealistically breathtaking montages of nature and space as if it is a polychromatic program from national geography (save the dinosaur scenes, it could not be more anti-documentary).
The superstar cast is astoundingly palpable which is a leap from THE NEW WORLD, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are steadfast in their emotion presiding roles, the new-comer Hunter McCracken is uncannily memorable thanks to the camera lingering around him most of the time.
It is also one of the most beautiful shot film ever, if you like photography, you will like it, if you believe in mythological philosophy, you might love it, but if you are a true poet, this is the cup of tea you will ecstatically devour, as for myself, I appreciate its existence to cater for the sort of the said category.