Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Tree of Life Review

If their ever was a film that could be the poster child for films that divide audience opinions Terrence Malicks Tree of Life is a film that would be a strong candidate. Inescapably and unapologetically experimental and existential The Tree of Life is a film that many will love, but equally many will loath, finding the contents nothing but a pretentious tedious bore.

I would usually try and summarize the basic story of the films setup. However in the case of The Tree of Life that would be a disservice and mostly an impossible task as the Tree of Life is a film that deviates from the norm in how a films themes and story is presented. The film at its core is about the beauty of life and the world and universe we live in. Whilst the story of a family and the individuals that make it up is certainly present, The Tree of Life is more concerned with the larger picture of life and using the smaller scale human narrative so as the audience can more easily relate to the bigger picture. It not only seeks to show beauty in what is generally accepted as beautiful, but also the beauty that still exist in the most tragic of circumstances. It would be a disservice to not mention the beautiful cinematography present by Emmanuel Lubezki that helps present the core concept present to be visible throughout.

Thus The Tree of Life is a film more concerned with evoking 'genuine' emotion from the viewer directly as opposed to trying to elicit an emotional response through how one relates to the individual characters present. With all that said I wouldn't say it is a particularly deep experience. It presents what it wishes to with no interest in exploring why the universe is how it is or similar. It is comfortable being a celebration of the beauty we are so fortunate to be able to experience no matter how limited our capacity may or may not be.

At it's heart The Tree of Life is about the beauty of not only the world we live in, but the universe and that of life. It is a film that I see large number loving and large numbers loathing. None the less I found it to be a completely enthralling and beautiful experience and The Tree of Life comes with my highest recommendation.

Note: I would strongly urge people to not view this film via streaming or a dvd release. Rather I would recommend viewing the blu-ray or seeking a showing at a cinema similar to The Astor Theatre. For those living in Australia I would urge those interested to consider importing the blu-ray as the local release is objectively worse then what is available elsewhere (the Australian release has a 5.1 audio track as opposed to the 7.1 available elsewhere and the video contains significant banding throughout many scenes).

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