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Tree Of Life



I can't even...

This is not a review so much as I'm trying to dump everything coursing through my brain right now here. I scribbled some quick notes on the subway so. Where do I begin?

First things first. This is magnificent. That is a fact. Everything hence forth is mere conjecture on my part.

Terence Malick steps away from a straight narrative and offers up this prayer in an operatic three act return to the screen.

Act One: The Violence of an Ending.

Tonally and stylistically setting the scene, and outlining the précis. In a few quick sketches, we understand and learn all there is to know narratively about what we're going to dive into. Everything else happens within these parameters of these initial moments.

If you happen to be someone who scoffs at what might seem to be pretentious art film ploys, I beg you to please sit through the Stan Brakhage style montage at the end of this act (which does, indeed, include dinosaurs). The payoff would be immense. Please, please, please view it in this way; as a piece of visual art of which the title and theme you know, compounded by the orchestral score. Let the images of majesty and violence wash in and work on you as would a painting. As far as I'm concerned, this act is about the magnitude of the particular ending that is important to us narratively, and the rest of the film follows the thought process of the owner of this narrative, the son, as he traces back and comes to terms with it. In the opening sequence we follow each of the mother, and the father, and see the immediate reactions as well as the initial stages of grief. The memories begin with an apology, which is also the beginning of the son's reckoning of events past.

(This review was never finished, because, readers, it's a year later and I'm unable to come up with the words)

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