Love it or not-love it — and for many, that “merciful dinosaur” scene was the dividing line — Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes) was the film that cinephiles were talking (and talking and talking) about last year. The non-prolific Malick, maker of but a handful of remarkable features (including Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line), is one of cinema’s great poets; whether you found Tree of Life fascinating but deeply flawed — or, like us, were completely and utterly transported by the sheer cosmic, Kubrickian audacity of injecting the creation of the universe and the 5-billion-year history of Earth and evolution into the tale of a middle-class family dealing with grief in 1950s Texas — a new film by Malick is nothing less than a Major Cinematic Event. Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn star in the film’s familial drama, rendered in the lush, lyrical, impressionistic Malick style of ravishing visuals and poetic voice-overs. Special effects wizard Douglas Trumbull, whose work distinguished Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey — perhaps the only other major feature film with comparable celestial ambition, scale, and vision — came out of retirement to help Malick capture, in stunning, non-CGI fashion, the origins of absolutely everything. All hail Terrence Malick for daring to ponder (and visualize) the hardest, vastest, most daunting questions — and for creating a film of such awesome, affirmative, haunting beauty. Colour, 35mm. 139 mins.
"These audacious sequences can't help but evoke the metaphysical questing of 2001, and in fact The Tree of Life often feels like a religious response to Stanley Kubrick's cold, cerebral view of our place in the universe. Not to be missed."Chicago Reader | full review
"It's overflowing with powerful images that will stay with me a long time, even if I still can't explain some of them."New York Post | full review
"Better than a masterpiece — whatever that is — The Tree of Life is an eruption of a movie, something to live with, think, and talk about afterward."Village Voice | full review
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Plays in a double bill with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.