This is the most beautiful piece of shit I’ve ever seen. And apart from the subject matter itself, the most confusing thing about The Tree of Life is the reaction it received. For some reason people have failed to overlook that while it is undoubtedly beautiful, it is still in fact a piece of shit.
If anyone can sit me down and explain what they know (not what they believe) happened during the mammoth two and a half hour running time, I’m quite willing to listen. The final season of Lostmade far more sense to me than this, because at least I knew something about the characters involved.
Here’s a spoiler-free retelling of the plot (spoiler-free in the sense that there is literally nothing to spoil):
The first act offers the only form of narrative, as a couple try to cope with a tragedy. Then out of nowhere, comes an hour of documentary footage about nature, space and… dinosaurs. Towards the end, watch a modern day, forty-year old man at work (not really doing much, just standing around and thinking). Then there’s some random snippets of home footage from a family in the ‘50s (again, not really doing anything that means anything to anyone apart from them), and then director Terrence Mallick recreates his vision of what heaven could look like if Sean Penn were there.
Seriously, none of this is explained or linked in any way. It’s just a random collection of meaningless things from some person’s life and their guess of what happened before existence and what they believe will happen after.
Margaret Pomeranz from the At the Movies actually gave this 5 stars and I wonder if she’s completely lost the plot. You can’t seriously give a film the utmost perfect score for any film that’s ever made, simply based on its visual craftsmanship.
By all accounts, does this mean that Transformers should be re-watched and reviewed without basing any of your critique on story or acting? I mean, in comparison they offer the same thing – a feast for the eyes. The only real difference is that Michael Bay isn’t trying to fool himself or anyone watching.
And what the fuck did Sean Penn actually do during the movie, seriously?
Casting team: “For this role we want you to stand in an architecture firm and act deep in thought as people walk around you. Then you’ll have to do the same thing on a beach. Can you do it?”
Sean Penn: “Geez, I don’t know. It doesn’t sound pretentious enough for my ego.”
Casting team: “Alright, well can you light a candle and say a couple of words on the phone? We’re pretty sure you’ll get another Oscar nomination.”
Sean Penn: “Sweet!”