Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2011 - 2:44 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

Terrence Malik's TREE OF LIFE is about to open here in London. Who has already seen the film? Any opinions? I loved Malik's THE THIN RED LINE and enjoyed BADLANDS but found DAYS OF HEAVEN a total bore and THE NEW WORLD just didn't work for me.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2011 - 3:25 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

It's not really exactly in the spirit of the previous 4, but based on the ones you didn't like, there's a chance you might not go for this one. For me, it's something else, and I'm looking forward to my second viewing later today (I saw it a few weeks ago). Really captures what it's like to be alive.

 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2011 - 9:16 PM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

This film is not for everyone, or perhaps even for most people. Reactions I observed ranged from a friend who wept in ecstasy through much of the film to folks walking out in the middle (several did when I saw the film). Malik deserves credit for an ambitious attempt to visually present something akin to a parent's dialogue with God about the death of a child. Parts of it were difficult to sit through, for me, not because of the emotional power of the film but rather boredom due to extended scenes of various natural phenomena (nebulae in space, volcanos etc.) and CGI scenes depicting life in the days of the dinosaurs. When there was a story being told, the performances by Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and the young boys were very good. Some of the imagery near the end of the film was quite exceptional and very touching. On the whole, it was a trying experience for me, and I don't know many people that I would recommend this to. I was glad when it was finally over, and would not go to see it again.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2011 - 9:45 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I saw the film last week, and am pretty much in Dana Wilcox's camp. Malick just bites off more than he can chew in this one. I saw it as his attempt to give an overview of the story of the universe, from the dawn of creation down to the problems affecting a single family. Very ambitious, but it would take a filmmaker of even greater facility than Malick to do justice to such a theme in two hours. The small audience I saw it with was split between boredom, puzzlement, and bemusement. As for Andre Desplat's score, I have no idea how much of it is in the film, as the end credits list no fewer than 25 classical pieces that are excerpted in the soundtrack.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 1:08 AM   
 By:   mgh   (Member)

My opinion is very close to Dana's and Bob's. Malick was trying to tell a story that is almost impossible to tell (how our lives fit into the cosmos). When there was a narrative, I liked it, but the beginning and the end (here I disagree with Dana) could have been cut off. I too found it rather trying. When I thought about leaving (and I did), something would pull me back in. The combination of imagery and music was stunning at times. I think it is worth seeing, but be prepared for a bit of frustration and boredom.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 1:56 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Interesting comments and observations... this sounds like a film I would love to watch on DVD, in shorter parts at my own leisure.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 4:09 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Sounds like a fillm EXACTLY to my taste -- I absolutely love films that down-prioritize story elements in favour of communicating ideas and symbolism through pure audiovisual means. And I absolutely adore SLOW-moving films. I've enjoyed all of Malick's previous films.

I also like directors like Tarkovskij, Angelopolous, Antonioni, Tarrr etc., so this should be interesting.

If people weaned on Hollywood complain about a film because its "lack of story" or that it's boring or too slow, it's usually a good sign for me.

Can't wait to finally get around to this.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 6:20 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Sounds like a fillm EXACTLY to my taste -- I absolutely love films that down-prioritize story elements in favour of communicating ideas and symbolism through pure audiovisual means. And I absolutely adore SLOW-moving films. I've enjoyed all of Malick's previous films.

I also like directors like Tarkovskij, Angelopolous, Antonioni, Tarrr etc., so this should be interesting.

If people weaned on Hollywood complain about a film because its "lack of story" or that it's boring or too slow, it's usually a good sign for me.

Can't wait to finally get around to this.


You will at least see it forewarned. Will be interested to hear your take on it after you've seen it, so please resurrect this thread when you do.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 6:51 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Beautiful to look at and listen to, but frustrating and pretentious.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Beautiful to look at and listen to, but frustrating and pretentious.

I think I would have to agree with "pretentious," in the sense that Malik did not actually have the chops to translate his vision to film. The only other film I can think of with which to compare TREE was Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, in which Kubrick sought to depict in visual terms the evolution of man's consciousness from his beginnings to some sort of ultimate realization/rebirth. I would speculate that had Kubrick attempted this entirely on his own, he would have failed as Malik did. Kubrick had Arthur C. Clarke, in my opinion a true genius and visionary, and together they more or less pulled it off. I thought so anyway, though I know not everyone was as taken with 2001 as I was. Both films attempted the impossible, visual representation of an abstract, verbally indescribable cosmic "reality." For me Kubrick's film was the more successful.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 8:59 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Glad to see that we share a love for 2001, Dana. That's another film that is often called "too slow" by those more attuned to classical, narrative-driven films, but which is just perfect in my eyes. It's also fairly straightforward and even action-filled compared with more indie/alternative fare.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 9:59 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Glad to see that we share a love for 2001, Dana. That's another film that is often called "too slow" by those more attuned to classical, narrative-driven films, but which is just perfect in my eyes. It's also fairly straightforward and even action-filled compared with more indie/alternative fare.

I think Kubrick and Clarke had a more focused grasp of where they wanted to go with their creation than Malik. As a story it was more varied, and although abstract in concept, they utilized (indeed, innovated) their graphics with precision to illustrate their vision. A masterpiece, and although I've seen it more than a dozen times (maybe lots more), I do not tire of the "too long" prehistoric segment or the low key tone of the space sequences. The HAL 9000 computer is one of the great "characters" ever devised, IMO. I also think that the classical music supports the film magnificently, and that Kubrick was completely on target in pulling the North score. (No knock on Alex North, one of my very favorite composers.)

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 12:00 PM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

I loved the film, especially this bit.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)

I doubt that there will be any film released during the next six months that will topple THE TREE OF LIFE as my best of 2011. I responded to this movie very deeply. It's Malick's best so far - an elliptical, poetic meditation which aligns the life of an ordinary man's growing up with the life of the cosmos themselves. It's rare to see such a bold statement about spirituality and mysticism in a mainstream or, for that matter, in any film.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 2:29 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I doubt that there will be any film released during the next six months that will topple THE TREE OF LIFE as my best of 2011. I responded to this movie very deeply. It's Malick's best so far - an elliptical, poetic meditation which aligns the life of an ordinary man's growing up with the life of the cosmos themselves. It's rare to see such a bold statement about spirituality and mysticism in a mainstream or, for that matter, in any film.

I haven't seen TREE OF LIFE, but I would recommend you to see the Italian film LE QUATRO VOLTE, which is MY favourite from 2011 so far and which taps into similar territory in its own unique way.

 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2011 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   Mark R. Y.   (Member)



I haven't seen TREE OF LIFE, but I would recommend you to see the Italian film LE QUATRO VOLTE, which is MY favourite from 2011 so far and which taps into similar territory in its own unique way.


It looks intriguing! LE QUATTRO VOLTE is currently making the rounds in the U.S. at various film fests, but not the one here in Seattle. I'll keep alert for it though.

I'm also hoping the new Hazanavicius/Dujardin film, THE ARTIST, which was a hit at Cannes this spring, will open here soon. But I still doubt anything will top TREE OF LIFE. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2011 - 4:20 AM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

Sounds like a fillm EXACTLY to my taste -- I absolutely love films that down-prioritize story elements in favour of communicating ideas and symbolism through pure audiovisual means. And I absolutely adore SLOW-moving films. I've enjoyed all of Malick's previous films.


Honestly, this isn't actually slow moving -- the aesthetic is quite energetic, very dynamic, shifting between allegro & andante constantly. (Film as music is a good description actually.) Not the meditative long take approach of Tarr / Tarkovsky at all. It's definitely the Terence Malick who made The Thin Red Line and The New World. (Of Tarkovsky's films, the closest connection is The Mirror, which is similar subject matter.) If there is any sense of slowness in the film, it's because a narrative thread never really emerges, so the scenes have almost no causal relationship from one to the next, ie there is no sense of momentum. It's as close to a pure stream-of-consciousness film as I've seen.

Gus van Sant's Paranoid Park is a good case of a film doing something similar in recent American cinema.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2011 - 4:22 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Nice! Even better. I liked PARANOID PARK, and did a thread on it here:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=66076&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2011 - 4:31 AM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

I remember that thread. I think I might have been the only other person on here who liked the film enough to reply. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2011 - 4:37 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I remember that thread. I think I might have been the only other person on here who liked the film enough to reply. wink

Or who had seen it in the first place.

My average Cinema Club entry (esp. non-Hollywood fare) gets 25-30 views and no replies. smile

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.