In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with,... See full summary »
The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Written by
The scene with the bats flying in the evening skies was not computer generated animation. Shot in Austin, the bats under Congress bridge is a well-known phenomenon as one of the largest known bats population in the world, and they all live under a bridge. During spring and fall, the bats can be seen flying out in the evening to begin their daily hunt for food. See more »
When young Jack enters the neighbor's house to snoop, there is a brief glimpse of a tuned wind chime which is heard sounding. Tuned wind chimes didn't exist in the 1950s; there were only the un-tuned, jangly type (and very few of those in middle-class Texas homes). See more »
Sheesh... skip all the other reviews. Just read this.
I've just wasted my time reading 20 IMDb reviews for "Tree of Life",
both love-its and hate-its. They might as well be telling you how they
feel about the colour blue. Subjective, subjective, subjective.
So let's try something different. I'm not going to tell you whether I
loved or hated this movie. I'm just going to tell you what to expect.
Without either praising or disparaging this film, I'd describe it as
being a mix of Fellini, Kubrick, IMAX and "Stand by Me".
This film is presented in 4 distinct acts, each lasting between 30-45
mins. The acts are very disjoint, and although they are woven together
by common thematic elements, the experience can be very disorienting.
The director seemed to pattern this film after Kubrick's "2001: A Space
Odyssey" with its 4 contrasting sections.
Act 1: Setting. The film begins with a peek into the life of a 1950s
American family that suffers a tragedy. It leaps forward and back in
time, setting up the individual characters and their roles in the
drama. Though presented in a very fragmented way, this part should be
easy enough to follow.
Act 2: Tone. The next sequence, lasting about 30 minutes, is a very
impressionistic journey through space, time and evolution. Be prepared.
There may be a few voice-overs, but otherwise it's completely without
dialogue, actors or events. The best way to describe it is to say it's
like an IMAX film with the narration turned off. It's somewhat
reminiscent of the "acid trip sequence" at the end of "2001".
Act 3: Plot. After that, we return to the 1950s. This 3rd sequence
makes up the body of this film. Having established the setting & tone,
the director gives us a story (more or less). It's presented in a
series of vignettes focusing mostly on the love-hate relationship
between a boy and his father. This mirrors the love-hate relationship
that each character has with goodness. Both the father & son are jerks
struggling to become good, each in his own way. This portion of the
film reminded me of a dark, disturbing version of "Stand By Me".
Act 4: Conclusion. We return to another impressionistic sequence, this
time including the main characters and short bits of dialogue &
voice-overs. To some of the audience it may give closure &
satisfaction. To others, it may just plain suck.
For the sake of presenting an objective review, I'll withhold my own
opinion. But I did want to mention some of the reactions I observed in
the theater and in the parking lot afterwards. In an audience of about
100, I saw 4 people walk out. (Well, 5, but I think that guy just
spilled lemonade on himself.) Most of the audience seemed attentive,
but I did hear a lot of yawns and uncomfortable fidgeting. When the end
credits came up there was dead silence as everyone filed out. It was
pretty uncomfortable. In the parking lot there was a man who hated the
movie so much I feared for my life. Seriously, this guy was about to
plow his car through a storefront. Others praised the film's technical
merits and cinematography but remained lukewarm, if not mostly
negative, with their overall impression. Several people were intent on
discussing the films philosophical merits, but this only infuriated the
angry guy, so everyone just went home.
If I were to compare this to other films/directors, I'd say it's very
Tarkovsky-like (Stalker, Mirror, etc). As I mentioned above, it's also
much like Kubrick's "2001"--if you were to strip out the suspenseful
parts about Hal and the Discovery. Perhaps it's also a bit like Wim
Wenders' "Paris Texas" in that it wanders around a lot before coming to
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