Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Tree of Life. (2011) Terrence Malick

A Break From June Lite.

Terrence Malick's metaphysical mind job is a film that won't be for everyone, but man, it floored me. It's the first film I've seen that will be in contention for a Top Ten spot when I put together my yearly list at the end of 2011.

I suspect that seeing The Tree of Life in the theater has a lot to do with my reaction. It's such a huge experience, made to order for the Big Screen. It's loaded with universal images, and by that I mean images of the universe; long segments are like a cosmic ode to the Creation story. Indeed, its first frame is even a quote pulled from the end of the Book of Job: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"

But it is also universal in the Christian sense, like a Christian Universalist. It's visually striking enough to relay a fascination with the cosmos and one family's struggle within it, but ambiguous enough to avoid the pat answers a Christian movie might adhere to.

It also suggests a maternal grace that wrestles with the paternal nature of the world, that the world in itself can be beautiful to our eyes, but it can be a dangerous, disastrous place as well - and that our actions and the actions of those around us can determine how we filter the beauty of grace and the strength of nature.

And Brad Pitt, for the record, is amazing.

I doubt I'll see a better film this year, but I'm sure I'll never see another film quite like it.

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