Everything has already been said or almost about THE TREE OF LIFE. Masterpiece for some, a realization of the grotesque and terribly long for the other, the fifth feature film from Terrence Malick has at least had the merit of not leave anyone indifferent. THE TREE OF LIFE can be qualified as the work’s ultimate Malick, where her side of metaphysics, its rejection of dialogue and conventional photography to reach their climax.

THE TREE OF LIFE had all the cards in your hands, to become one of the great films of the seventh art, but its plot mollassonne, interspersed with many planes of the universe are a too big handicap. Other directors are also interested in the cosmos and the place that can occupy the human in its vastness ; Mike Cahill in his two pearls I Origins and Another Earth, Lars Von Third parties with the controversial Melancholia, Darren Arrenofsky and its beautiful The Fountain and of course Stanley Kubrick and the cult movie 2001 a Space Odyssey. On the form, THE TREE OF LIFE is without doubt the most accomplished, the most visually impressive, but what a pity that the storyline is not at all to the height.

The questioning permanent the deeper nature of man, his place in the genesis of the world, supposed to exalt our unconscious, eventually we lose. Malick giving the feeling of indulging in personal reflections leaves to make them inaccessible to the common mortal.

The desire to inscribe this family drama in a metaphorical representation of existence is, again, an ambition that may be qualified as disproportionate. The sensitivity, hallmark of the american film director deserted gradually the film and the complexity of cosmic intrigue eventually grow tired of it. a little picture of Take Shelter. The same image of a nature mythical, close to the genesis. But where Jeff Nichols offered a questioning of the fears of the human soul, Malick is merely a cursory exploration, very formal and that will transcends anything our image of humanity.

“Work at the scale of proportion, THE TREE OF LIFE does not fulfill their lofty promises and disappoints greatly.”

Another big flaw of the film is the use disappointing the casting. Yet, with Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, there was a potential to do better. Only Brad Pitt draws its pin from the play by the father of the family violent and tormented, loving her son but not knowing how to transmit this love and eventually to hide in the coldness, or worst yet, violence. Jessica Chastain in the role of a mother of a loving family is too cleared, although his games body is as usual impeccable. Unlike Sean Penn bother to convince us of the necessity of his character in the course of the story. As Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams in To the Wonder, Malick fails to integrate its secondary characters in a narration fluid, giving rather the sense of the added obligation.

The ballad sensory remains the major asset of the film, but it is insufficient to compete with his previous productions. The fall into the abyss, usual yet his strong point (remember the love story between Pocahontas and John Smith in The New World or the absurdity of the war in the Pacific seen through the eyes of american soldiers lost in The Red Line) is completely failed.

Work at the scale of proportion, THE TREE OF LIFE does not fulfill their lofty promises and disappoints greatly. To be classified in the category of films “brainwash” on the side of Under the Skin, 2001 a Space Odyssey or Enter the Void.

THE TREE OF LIFE has been reviewed in the context of our retrospective devoted to Terrence Malick on the occasion of the release of his new film, Knight of Cups.


The badlands (1973) – by Paul

The Harvest of heaven (1978) – by Paul

The red Line (1998) – by Paul

The New world (2005) – by Paul

The Tree of Life (2011) – by Paul

Has the wonder (2012) – by Paul


– The cinema of Terrence Malick – by Loris


– What happened to Terrence Malick ? – by Pierre


– Review of Knight of Cups – by Peter,


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