The Tree of Life – Another perspective by Nicky Mason

A film has never made me feel quite so relaxed and calm before. The unique images, music and the connection of humans and earth in the ‘Tree of life’ are truly artistic. If you’re looking for light entertainment or
a strong plot this is not the film for you, however if you’d prefer something a bit more thought provoking and poetic then look no further.

Malick’s ‘Tree of life’ looks at the deeper meaning of life, death and the elements of the earth, and takes you through some beautiful images and music.

When middle aged Jack (played by Sean Penn) goes on a personal quest to find the meaning of life through the death of his 19 year old brother, he takes you on a journey of his childhood in post war America.

My first impression was sceptical, it appears to be a depressing reminiscence of a grieving mother mashed up with a nature programme- full of shots of whooshing sea and air, grass and creatures, molecules and even affection between dinosaurs. But within only ten minutes I was immersed, and came out feeling as though I had woken from a deep sleep.

The film skims through the childhood of Jack (played by Hunter McCracken ) and his boisterous brothers, in angelic dream like memories, and it zooms in on his life at around 12yrs old, where Jack becomes angry and starts to resent his father’s strict ways. “You wish I was dead don’t you?” he asks, whilst tending to weeds to his Fathers direct specifications.

Jacks father (played by Brad Pitt) tries to install a strict and Christian upbringing onto his boys, hardening them to survive in the real world, whilst their repressed and naturally pretty mother (played by Jessica Chastain) is portrayed as angelic and loving and shows a playfulness when her husband is not around.

There seems to be no linear to the structure, and the camera is constantly moving and zooming, but it soon becomes evident that even without a strong plot a film can be strangely engaging.

This Palme d’or winning film is worth watching, if not for Brad Pitt’s great acting for the ambient feeling after a busy day.

The Tree of Life screens at Phoenix Square from Fri 22 Jul – Thu 28 Jul and Fri 5 Aug – Thu 11 Aug. Book Now

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