Tree Of Life stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, written and directed by Terrence Malick, a reclusive director who have directed only a few movies. Tree Of Life got the top price at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The movie starts with a quotation from the bible then Sean Penn in a glass office building. The next scenes are that of a light at the center of the screen then a flash of light. At first I don’t understand what this is until I figured this must be the creation of the universe when spurts of raging lava, clouds of natural gas, a dinosaur are the next scenes. Before you go see this movie you need to have your cup of coffee. The guy sitting next to me was snoring half of the movie.
The movie is set in 1960’s Texas and it is about a husband and wife and their relationship with their 3 boys. Brad Pitt starred as the father and Sean Penn starred as the adult version of one of the boys. The father is a disciplinarian with erratic temper and has frustrations in business and converts this frustration into “tough-love” way of disciplining his boys. He tells the kids “It takes fierce will to go ahead in this world” and calls his wife naive. The mother on the other hand is a free spirit. The father leans hard on his oldest son Jack (older Jack is played by Sean Penn) and the drama started when one of the boys died. It was never explicitly told how he died. Jack grew-up empty of joy and blames his father for the long-ago death.
When Jack is growing up he has appetite for risk and transgression-BB guns, electricity. He has a rocky relationship with his father. The death of his brother shattered the family and brought to surface his resentments toward his father.
Malick has an unconventional way of telling a story in this movie. The movie is scant on story and there is practically no dialogue among the characters. It is very long, the story could have been told in half an hour. I don’t think a typical moviegoer would appreciate this movie. This is a movie for the artsy not for the general public.