Review

Harry has seen Malick's THE TREE OF LIFE, he has also wept, smiled & pondered existence today

Published at: May 16, 2011, 9:30 p.m. CST by headgeek

 

When I awoke this morning I had a singular panicked feeling…  that I had missed the screening of TREE OF LIFE this morning.   It was the thought in my mind.  Upon seeing the film, I’ve decided that I can not pollute the ruminations of my mind with a press screening in the armpit theater of Austin for PIRATES 4.  

 

It would be a disservice to do that.   Today is Malick’s day for me.   TREE OF LIFE could wind up being my definitive Malick odyssey that I’ve been raised towards.   Unlike many of my friends, I did not come to Malick via Film School…   My parents took me to Malick’s DAYS OF HEAVEN and BADLANDS upon initial release – and while I was far too young to fully appreciate those films – his eye, that magnificent lens captured me.   It helped to inform how I would look at the world in wonder.

 

When I was a child, my parents took me to every movie.   I was told to pay attention to the films, because we would… as a family…  discuss the films afterwards.   When I remember my life, the jungles & pyramids of the Yucatan, the Renaissance Faire that was nestled in the Piney Woods, growing up in Hyde Park in that Victorian home surrounded by epic trees.   The Ranch with its rolling plains that practically spoke each season.   Then my adult life in Austin with the various travels.   I remember those times and they look MALICKy in my mind.

 

In THE THIN RED LINE, Malick took me to war, and through that war I discovered the true depth of his soul, that he could find the beauty in the chaos & horror of war.   With THE NEW WORLD he took me to a virgin America.   But TREE OF LIFE – it is about something far greater.

 

To me, TREE OF LIFE is a film about that point in your life when your brain woke up to the big issues.   When your parents ceased to be heroes, when your mind was confused by the allure of the unknown, when death first touched your life and the world became scary, when you started ruminating about God and the birth of everything.   When life was pretty simple and blissful, but then the first big PROBLEMS occurred.  

 

The film is a combination of poetry, prayer and  personal exploration.   In the hours after watching, my father, wife, Quint & I began a discussion that was less fixated purely about the film we’d just seen, as much as how we saw ourselves in a reflection of that film.

 

I thought of Angel Pena.   I knew him in 3rd & part of 4th grade before he died.   He had a blood disease that required fairly frequent complete blood transfusions – and he loved life.   He had a Hero/Monster maker and lived in a tiny house.   The first house of a friend that was a completely different economic level.   It was around 600 square feet and a family of 7 lived there.   My house was a Victorian Mansion, very similar to the houses in TREE OF LIFE.   In fact the upstairs sun room was built very much like the one in the film.   I remembered that I believed that Angel could beat the disease that ravaged him.   I remembered when the Blood Bank showed up at my school for the express purpose of collecting blood for Angel – and I remember crying that they wouldn’t take my blood because I was the wrong type.    And I didn’t believe them.   I was convinced my blood would save Angel’s life.   And I learned… miracles don’t always happen.

 

In TREE OF LIFE, you have Sean Penn in the modern day – living his life, but for some reason…  he’s haunted by a period of time leading up to when his family left his childhood home.   He thinks about his brother who died later on, but who was so alive in the course of this story.   He remembers being terrified, in awe of and unworthy of his father…  a man who had idly wasted his talents as a musician, to have a practical life…  and as a result is trying to raise his kids with a do it yourself edict to work for yourself.   My father was similar in a lot of ways.

 

I can remember being taught to box with my Dad.   Being told to hit him & being terrified to hurt my Dad.    I can remember the lectures about the damage to your soul that is done when your work is soulless and not your own.   He taught me that I could survive in this life by creating artwork, collecting and selling cool stuff & fully reinforced my passion for animation, martial arts, film & all things geek.   I was raised to think about how we (a people) came to be… 

 

Malick’s film conjures these kinds of memories.   The film is essentially a classical musical depiction of the history of life as we know it leading up to this particular O’Brien family in Smithville, Texas.

 

When I was 11, my family was destroyed by divorce.   I left the Victorian mansion that I grew up in and was whisked off to THE RANCH, where I spent my Junior High & High School years – but in many ways – this film captures the memories and the sensation of those memories for my pre-divorced years.   There’s an idyllic quality to those years in my mind.  

 

Now, I’ve no idea about most of your personal childhoods.   When they first began to be over.   What kind of father you had, what your parents were like, but if you have issues – or if you’re having a trouble being a parent and a family right now, there’s a chance this movie might not set well with you.  

 

Very few films capture childhood and the epic way we sometimes view our Fathers.   Back before they became demystified, if that day has ever come, my Dad still fucking rules.   There’s towering Fathers like Atticus Finch…  but more often than naught, there’s fathers like Brad Pitt’s Mr. O’Brien…   Flawed in some manner.   I think people are being hard on the character.   I think he was a noble man of a different era.   He was of the “greatest generation”.   He had music in his soul, but then the war happened.   His life took another path.   He is jealous of others gifted lives.  He believes to survive this world you have to be tough mentally & physically.   That being a good man is not necessarily how to be a successful man.   He goes through the motions of Church, but doesn’t really take it to heart – as he has his own particular gospel he is passing on to his boys.   For me, this is a film about my grandfather on my father’s side.

 

It helps that TREE OF LIFE was shot around here, and one of the most poignant moments of the film takes place where I first learned how to swim & love to go swim with my wife today.    Seeing this area in that other time period helps to inform about a generation that questioned the existence of God and were not burnt for it.    And that generation led to mine and yours.   

 

This was the period when Walt Disney’s FANTASIA was an incredibly powerful film that reflected a societal change that fully embraced evolution, the power of science and the death of innocence.    This film reflects that same era with the same sweep and beauty that Disney gave us with FANTASIA.  

 

OH – and then there’s the visual sweep of the film, which is just awe inspiring.    I saw TREE OF LIFE exactly how I didn’t want to see it.   In a tiny screen, in the furthest seat from that screen, with the most annoyingly loud rustling popcorn eating fella to my left and security guards that were quite obtrusive, even coming up to ask me a question after the movie was about 8 minutes into it.    And don’t even get me started on the CRITIC with the loudest pager in the history of mankind going off.

 

TREE OF LIFE is to be seen in your favorite church of a theater.   The best seat in the house.   An audience that is all there to believe in Malick.   Go into this film and be swept away.   Allow the film to take you where it may.    For me, I was a child that had run of the city of Austin with the safe base that was my home on Red River.    It made me consider the kinds of scenes that belonged to my father’s childhood…   and it made me consider the strength of my grandfather…   a man that took his family to a whole different economic class than where he began.   The film has me pondering the birth of atoms, the expansion and creation of galaxies, the beauty of the birth of life in its most microbial form,  the paradise of the Dinosaurs and the beauty that we live in today.    A world everything has led to.   Where do we take it from here?

 

What a wonderful thing for a film to do.   To ask God, “Why?” and to have the answer be “Creation.”  - wow.    LOVED IT!  

 

This is a film that doesn’t answer any of the questions, but it gets you to think about them.   There’s a film I’ll be reviewing next that is kind of the answer to this film.   It’s called THE TRANSCENDENT MAN – and it is an entirely different kind of genius in the form of a documentary and a man.   

 

If you love your Malick to be a mirror for our soul, you’ll love TREE OF LIFE.

Oh...  and Douglas Trumbull - you're still #1.

Readers Talkback

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  • May 16, 2011, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Post 0

    by HEADGEEK

    Here's my TREE OF LIFE review... shockingly, I get all off topic and personally reflective and shit.

  • May 16, 2011, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Really?

    by wallygogo

    Odd considering it got booed out of Cannes. The Cannes crowd is usually dead on. Mary Antoinette ring any bells?

  • May 16, 2011, 9:38 p.m. CST

    Question for Harry

    by Smegmasaurus_Rex

    Have you heard anything about when the film is going to be released in Austin? I cannot wait any longer!

  • May 16, 2011, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Nice review Harry

    by c4andmore

    That is all. Can't wait to see the film.

  • If the question was "Why?" and the answer was "Creation!"...there is little doubt that someone would respond, "Really?".

  • May 16, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Thanks Harry

    by Tim Hendon

    You leave your soul on the page. Thanks for not being greedy with your words, and not being afraid to share cherished memories during a thoughtful and expansive review.

  • May 16, 2011, 9:51 p.m. CST

    Which would be funny considering that God got booed at Cannes...

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    ...heh.

  • May 16, 2011, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Cannes

    by cenobiteme

    Wallygogo, Cannes booed Pulp Fiction when it won. They booed Wild at Heart when it won. They boo everything, they're French. The reviews I've read have been either 4 stars and hailing it a masterpiece or people calling it pretentious drivel. Sounds a lot like the initial reviews for a little film called 2001: A Space Odyssey to me. Films that are bold and audacious will polarize the audience. They are not safe, they are not familiar and many do not know how to perceive them when they first flicker in front of their eyes. It's Malick, I mean not everyone likes Malick. I would be way more weirded out more if everyone liked this movie. Can't wait!

  • May 16, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    So the film is about how white males become emasciated . . .

    by ShavedLeatherPig

    . . . and emotionally conflicted as they rise through socio-economic ranks ? . . . which is used as a metaphor for Global Warming ?

  • May 16, 2011, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Finally its out soon...which theater in ATX will play it

    by Troy Clavell

    I heard it comes out June 3rd in Austin but do ya know which theater Harry?

  • May 16, 2011, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Cannes

    by HEADGEEK

    Cannes had the worst theatrical audiences that I've ever seen films with in my life. They were filled with self-involved texters, that would sit completely detached and above the film they were watching. Not allowing any personal emotion to be expressed. Automatons before a lit screen. Malick's film is very American & very Christian. Is there any doubt why the godless French hated it. I kid, but do I?

  • May 16, 2011, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Nice review, Harry.

    by Rhuragh

    I normally don't like your review style, but for this particular film, it worked.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:03 p.m. CST

    "emasciated"

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    ???

  • May 16, 2011, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Malick is a pretentious waste of skin

    by Raggles Wimpole

    He should seriously speed up his filmmaking output. I mean, look at the directors who crank out masterpieces on a more consistent basis: Uwe Boll, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Tyler Perry, Michael Bay, Brett Ratner. These filmmakers don't take decade-long breaks between works & they have collectively made some of the most beautiful, profoundly moving films of the last 20 years. I dare you to watch Badlands, Days of Heaven & not think of such masterpieces as The Thin Red Line alongside Disaster Movie, X-Men 3, The Island, Madea Goes to Jail, House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark & Far Cry.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:09 p.m. CST

    God

    by Troy Clavell

    I dont believe in god at ALL and I still wanna wreck this movies anus...figuratively.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Love the review but...

    by Candice

    when i started to hit spoilers, I had to stop. I'll read it after I see it. But I get the gist--great, emotional movie. Thanks for sharing.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:14 p.m. CST

    TIFF audiences r best

    by Stormwatcher

    Right mix of common viewers and fans and critics. No one ther actually thinks their opinion is more important than the film they are watching.

  • Why does it always have to be about you and not the art itself? While you constantly name drop and compare yourself to other media-types like Ebert, we never read about him comparing a film experience to his cancer, relationship with his wife, or the first time he got a handjob. I'm very interested in this movie and looking forward to it, but this review is just another piece of hack journalism.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:24 p.m. CST

    thetoiletbrush

    by HEADGEEK

    because I am not them. I am Harry Knowles. I act as I act, because I can not act like another that I am not. I have been and always will be your friend. And you will always be thetoiletbrush

  • May 16, 2011, 10:34 p.m. CST

    whoa, what a modern-day Buddha

    by Citizin_insane

    jks. I like your reviews Harry. And your face :)

  • May 16, 2011, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Good job Harry...

    by moviemo

    I don't always share your sensibilities, but way to shut a troll down by diffusing antagonizing arrogance with a little bit of civil honesty.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    This, Another Earth, and Melancholia

    by moviemo

    are at the top of my must-see list for 2011. Along with Super 8, and a few other genre movies.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:38 p.m. CST

    Nice

    by Tacoloft

    This is the way to review a film. Tell the people how it made you feel. I really look forward to this film. Thanks Harry.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:41 p.m. CST

    "very Christian..."

    by Grasscutter

    good to know. Count me out. Thanks but no thanks.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:47 p.m. CST

    I am afraid to watch this film

    by antonphd

    Thin Red Line fucked me up. I got choked up watching the trailer for it today after watching the trailer for Tree of Life again. I don't know if I can handle watching a movie about losing a parent from this director. He pierces too deeply with his films.

  • May 16, 2011, 10:53 p.m. CST

    So......

    by closeencounter

    Did you like it?

  • May 16, 2011, 10:55 p.m. CST

    MNG

    by DrMorbius

    It wasn't God that was booed at Cannes, it was Jesus . . . Jesus Ramirez as a matter of fact . . . something about misloading reels 2 and 4 . . . Nice to see you still visit this site, and yes, DocPazuzu did show up in that Conan thread and schooled the Goatfucker so bad he eventually refused to respond.

  • May 16, 2011, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Hope it's as good as the trailer

    by Simpsonian

  • May 16, 2011, 11:12 p.m. CST

    DrMorbius - Howdy!

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Jesus Ramirez, eh? Ha! As for DocPaz, I had a feeling that he may show up for that one. When it comes to owning that Portuguese goatfucker, nobody does it better.

  • May 16, 2011, 11:16 p.m. CST

    pondering life's questions

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    sounds boring. Been there, done that!

  • May 16, 2011, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Sounds like I'm going to be with the godless French

    by JacksParasites

    If the film's answer to "why" is "Creation," it sounds like more profundity can be found in a Where's Waldo book. Even fortune cookies do better than that.

  • May 16, 2011, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Takes a lot to open up like that Harry

    by Turd Furgeson

    Deep, personal review... Inserting yourself is usually a light hearted affair for you.. But sometimes, like with this film, you get deep.. I have this foreboding feeling that The Tree Of Life is going to affect me on a very personal level because of my disasterous family situation... Thanks for preparing me.

  • May 16, 2011, 11:54 p.m. CST

    This movie doesn't really sound like it's for me.

    by CherryValance

    I don't have a dad and I haven't felt very American, or Christian, for years. Glad I finally know what it's about though. Thanks, Harry.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:20 a.m. CST

    Harry - did you see yourself on The Cleveland Show?

    by JuanSanchez

  • May 17, 2011, 12:29 a.m. CST

    grasscutter

    by Quint

    I'd actually call this film very spiritual. I don't think there's anything particularly Christian about it. It's a little like the tree in Empire... there's nothing that you don't take in with you. Spiritual, yes. Very much pontificates on the place man has in this world and his/her relationship with a higher being, but it's never said it's a Christian God. It could be space dust. Hell, there's even a pro-evolution segment to this film, so if you were worried about it being preachy that's not this film.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Harry Knowles: The Taco Of Life

    by BoRock_A_Boomer

    With every wonderful, crunchy, life affirming bite making a seemingly endless mass of pure white flesh have meaning again.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:44 a.m. CST

    Reviews

    by bellscorners

    I remember when The Thin Red Line came out next to Saving Private Ryan. The Toronto Sun ran a review of TTRL that torched it, completely turned the movie off for me. I didn't watch it until a few years later, as a rental, and boy did I learn my lesson about reviews. Don't care if the Cannes crowd is booing this or anything else. The trailer looks sublime, and I can't wait. Give me more voice over and contemplation, even give me something that sounds haughty outside of the context of the movie as long as it works within the show.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Wow, that was a pretty good review

    by eveelcapitalist

    For once, Harry doesn't do that giggling bullshit like he normally does. And he mostly completes his thoughts. Shit, this might technically be the best review Harry has ever done! But I'm still not seeing the movie. The Thin Red Line was such a piece of pretentious horseshit that I can't utter Malick's name without spitting on the ground. I came out of that movie so pissed off. Three hours of the world's most overrated garbage and I had paid money to see it. Ever since, Malick has topped my list of directors I actively avoid (along with Paul Thomas Anderson, who really needs a punch in the face). But I'm glad you liked it, Harry.

  • May 17, 2011, 1:12 a.m. CST

    Good one Harry

    by sonnyfern

    I've never been a Malick fan...but I haven't watched one of his films in YEARS...and I'm an entirely different person now. All these reviews have been fascinating. I might have to check this out...

  • May 17, 2011, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Very Christian - puts people off ???

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    I am an atheist, not even an undecided one a Richard Dawkins type one, but I love a good story regardless of how much it involves religion or the supernatural. Clearly modern religion like mythologies are old are all man made, made to help us when we were primitive and uneducated help us cope with a crazy world which we couldn’t understand and we needed to focus on just surviving, help us as very social animals have something extra to bind us together, help us deal with death and help us at times deal with our biggest fear, that of being alone. But like mythologies of old and other fables, modern religious stories are often great stories and like all these stories they are ultimately about us examining what it is to be a human, our flaws, our habits, our nature.

  • May 17, 2011, 1:51 a.m. CST

    Harry, you mention seating...

    by BERSERKR

    It made me wonder, what is your favorite seat in a theatre, this question goes out to all Aicn staff, me I used to sit about middle, middle. Then muddle seat a few rows from the top, now I tend to sit a maybe a few rows below middle in the middle :p

  • May 17, 2011, 1:52 a.m. CST

    Are they actually many Chrisitians

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    Whilst I am “preaching” I am convinced there is actually very few Christians in the world, if Christian means strictly following the word and teachings of Jesus Christ, a pacifist, often anti-establishment, anti-greed. Most are followers of a water downed version of the old testament view + the “god and jesus loves me” part from the new testament.

  • May 17, 2011, 1:53 a.m. CST

    miyamoto_musashi - i think it's christian propoganda

    by antonphd

    that turns people off. i grew up a christian and i wouldn't see The Passion of the Christ. i don't watch indoctrination films. unless they are playing tongue and cheek like Starship Troopers.

  • May 17, 2011, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Hated hated hated TTRL

    by Shubniggorath

    I was in the military when I saw it the first time, and was completely put off by the main character because guys like him get people killed in combat. I couldn't sympathize with a deserter and a coward. I actually applauded in the theater when he was killed at the end. Maybe Tree of Life will be different. I couldn't possibly hate it as much as TTRL.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:10 a.m. CST

    bales...

    by HEADGEEK

    I have never met Malick, nor conversed or corresponded with him. I have ZERO relations with him, nor am I angling for any. I prefer that Malick be a mystery. There should be mystery in this world - and he likes to be enigmatic.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Harry's 'personal' reviews

    by MorganLeafy

    For once it's appropriate.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Booing at Cannes

    by MorganLeafy

    Well, that's Cannes for you. Remember this is the cinephile's BNAT. I'm pretty sure all of Lars von Trier's films got booed. The reactions to Inglorious Basterds were mixed as well at Cannes. Look at how they all turned out.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:34 a.m. CST

    All Harrys reviews are personal maybe this film lives upto everything Harry projects onto it.

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

    And yeah Cannes audiences are a bunch of tween girls in a mall screaming at each other.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:41 a.m. CST

    BTW TINTIN TRAILER UP AT EMPIRE!!!

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

    http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=31007

  • May 17, 2011, 2:43 a.m. CST

    And it looks pretty good but no shots of anyone talking....

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • May 17, 2011, 2:45 a.m. CST

    Very Christian?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Uh oh. Is this the first stupid Malick film then?

  • May 17, 2011, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Hmmm

    by macheesmo3

    This film has me intrigued. Having seen 2 wonderful Malick films (Badlands,Days of Heaven) and one overbearing pretentious one ( TTRL.... yeah still havn't seen The New World... no excuses.... I need to see it) I know what he's capable of. I also know that he can get a little ham fisted with his "emotions" in his movies as well.... (I think the reason I didn't like TTRL is because it seemed to be a movie made by someone who didn't really understand what combat FEELS like, but thought that they did. But in all honesty, combat is fear and focus and dilligence and trying to save your own ass as well as the asses of your buddies. Maybe of Thoreau and Tennyson were in combat it would be like in TTRL, but In my limited time in Bosnia I never had these grandiose thoughts . They would've gotten me off the task of surviving) ..anyway....... we know this will look great (more like majesterial), and will probably be acted well. But is there a story we can relate to? Characters we can root for (or against... any sort of emotional reaction or connection is fine in my book) Or is it going to be 2.5 hr's of "let us wax poetic about ideas both tragic and profane whilst i fling pretty pictures at you".......... meh I hope it's the former. Kubrick is the only one to make me enjoy the 2nd type of film..... But hey, that's Stanley F Kubrick! ( F stands for fucking awesome)

  • May 17, 2011, 4:05 a.m. CST

    I remember the tears for Bay's ARMAGEDDON...

    by justmyluck

    .. so, yeah, I'll take the Cannes critics with a modicum of post-secondary instead of this chop suey.

  • well done Harry.. you managed to even put me off the film and I was open minded about it.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:39 a.m. CST

    "To ask God, “Why?” and to have the answer be “Creation.”"

    by buggerbugger

    You just managed to make God sound like the dumbest fucking plank in the entire history of everything. If I asked "Why?" and God sagely replied "Creation", I would kick him right in his profound fucking bollocks.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:41 a.m. CST

    Reading your review Harry.

    by hallmitchell

    Made me remember the time i punched my dad in the balls. Mum told me not to do that again.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:41 a.m. CST

    Are there any dinosaurs?

    by hallmitchell

    I heard T.Malick was developing one for the film.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:57 a.m. CST

    "creation" is a great answer imo

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    Tintin looks like it could be good even if the facial animations suck. It's suspicious that they're hiding the faces in the trailer. Guess they want a slick trailer free of distractions.

  • May 17, 2011, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Great review but...

    by Cpt Shaw

    Being an Atheist, this film is probably not aimed at me.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Cannes booed Fire Walk With Me

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    so who gives a shit what a Cannes audience think.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Some of you are seriously sad...

    by Magnus_punchjammer

    If you don't like Harry, get the fuck off the site. Go to a site that meets your dead heart's desires. What have you done with your lives? You sit around talkbacks safely at your little laptops and you act like hateful bastards. I feel sorry for you and it saddens me that there are so many of you. Get a fucking life and learn something about being a man. Only 13 year olds talk so much douchey shit. Besides most of you sound like ignorant twats.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:55 a.m. CST

    I'd rather kill myself than read this review.

    by Knuckleduster

    I respect Malick too much (and respect Harry too little).

  • May 17, 2011, 8:12 a.m. CST

    I dread seeing this in a theatre because...

    by Arteska

    ...no matter where or when I go some dipshits will have their phones/PDA's a-glowin' throughout and, based on what I'm reading about this movie, the audience will more than likely be filled with stupefied people constantly asking their companions what's happening. I love seeing movies with people - seeing them alone is just not the same experience - but I'd place the % of the population that can actually conduct themselves with civility in a public performance space at somewhere less than 5%.

  • May 17, 2011, 8:18 a.m. CST

    ARTESKA – Couldn't agree with you more.

    by adolfwolfli

    My wife and I are consummate film buffs – the first thing we talked about when we met on our first date were our favorite filmmakers, Malick being one of them, but these days, trips to the movies are an exercise in frustration. Most of the population seemingly has completely lost their ability to concentrate on anything for more than 3 minutes. We had to ask a guy next to us to put away his cell phone during CLOVERFIELD. If you are bored during Cloverfield, and feel the urge to text message and twiddle with your device, you might as well just hang yourself. I can see droves of people walking into this wanting to see a "Brad Pitt" movie, and subsequently staring into their glowing screens and text messaging through the whole thing. It's gotten to the point where we'll deliberately see a movie when we've calculated the least amount of assholes will attend – say, 11:30 AM on a Wednesday morning, or something ridiculous.

  • From http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/movies/the-tree-of-life-premieres-at-cannes.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=movies&src=me Great to see Lubezki still working with him. But a Malick film starring "Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams" being called a romance? I'm not sure what to think about that -- it's unexpected to say the least.

  • May 17, 2011, 9:13 a.m. CST

    "More often than not" means "it happens the majority of the time"

    by golden tribw

  • Joey Gorga's raw, pained yearning for the love and respect of his father reminded me how fortunate I am to have an open, loving relationship with my own dad. I do believe, as Gorga does, that Joe Guidice poisoned their relationship with lies and manipulation. It shows how the ties that bind a family can unravel quite easily. When Gorga's tear-filled, almost child-like, appeal to his father was met with "Go cry to your mother", I felt the bitter sting of those words. But I'm hopeful they will mend their rift. I have faith. When the preview of future episodes show Joey happily dancing in drag, I know this father and son will see happy days together once again.

  • Weird. I guess we know who is still top-dawg around here.

  • All I've read is that it's the part of the film that will generate the most converstion

  • May 17, 2011, 10:33 a.m. CST

    zillabeast: if you want to know (maybe

    by golden tribw

  • One of the reviews I read said that characters alive and dead met in an afterlife of some sort toward the end of the film. That might be what they were referring to, though who knows.

  • May 17, 2011, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Even just skimming this review, so as to avoid too much information...

    by WriteForTheEdit

    ...I simply have to see this movie. (Did some of the Cannes audience really weep for "Armageddon?" Really?)

  • May 17, 2011, 10:46 a.m. CST

    TELL US ABOUT THE FUCKING DINOSAURS!

    by Spielbergs Furious Racism

    AMIRITE?!

  • May 17, 2011, 10:53 a.m. CST

    THE FRENCH BOOED CUZ THERE WAS NO RAPE

    by BSB

    France is French for Rapeland

  • May 17, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST

    OKAY, I'D PAY TO SEE SEAN PENN RUN FROM A T-REX

    by BSB

    Count me in.

  • May 17, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    This film looks absolutely transcendental...

    by kidicarus

    Great job pouring your heart and soul into that review, Harry.

  • May 17, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a comedy.

    by Flip63Hole

    Can't be nearly as hilarious as The Thin Red Line, though. Best parody, ever. Makes all those "Scary Movies" and other "Movie Movies" seem like hard drama...

  • May 17, 2011, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Not helping the film's case there, Harry

    by JacksParasites

    I'm no more impressed by shallow, empty, wishy-washing spirituality posing as profundity than I am by shallow, empty Christianity posing as profundity. "To ask God, “Why?” and to have the answer be “Creation.”" Really? That's just gobblygook. A fortune cookie can do better than that.

  • May 17, 2011, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Harry how was the score to the movie?

    by Aaronthenia

    I don't think I have read anything in the reviews except about the cinematography.

  • May 17, 2011, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Sickly

    by Yassir

    Seriously, that is the most pretentious review of a film I have ever read. Granted, Terrence Malick makes films that make you think and are deeply layered like a good novel, but please, Harry was positively oozing highbrow in his review that I thought I was reading an Art Exhibit review in the Guardian (UK newspaper).

  • May 17, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Why I like Harry's reviews

    by oisin5199

    The thing about reading a Harry Knowles review is that you don't read it for some scholarly dissection of a film or for some film criticism school point by point argument for what was good and what wasn't. There are lots of reviewers out there that do that and they have their place. What I read Harry's reviews for is to get a sense of what it feels like to experience that given film. And yes, it's completely subjective based on what he brings into the theatre with him - his past memories, his relationships, his expectations, his fannishness, his nostalgia. But we all do that. All of those things may be different for all of us. Harry tells us how all those things affect his viewing of the film and whether that film connects with those things. Because that is why cinema lovers go to the movies, to be shown magic, challenged, or reflect on their own lives. It may not be why many AICN talkbackers go to movies. It's not for everybody. But for those who do, they're always great reads. And that's why I primarily come to this site as I have over the last 10 years or so. I still read journalistic film reviews. But they're a different animal. So thanks for this one. I hope to see this film in my church theatre.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    thanks harry

    by JRKerr

    I read via ebert's link about the bad audience at cannes and began to worry that the malick trolls finally had some ammo... not that I worried I wouldnt like a malick film. Your response sounds like the sort of response that I hope/expect to have myself. Cool. Thanks.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Help me, Harry!!!

    by dumbpeoplesuck

    First, thanks a billion for that review. I've glossed over this film title over and over with growing curiosity, and now I'm very anxious to see it. By the time I read your second post, I'd made up my mind to skip the rest of these talkbacks and ask if you remember a movie from very long ago. Let me premise that by first saying that your review evoked quite a few memories of my childhood...of (THANKFULLY) being brought up in a Christian household, playing in the woods without fear of strangers or monsters, and a very loving set of parents who both did not live at all long enough, robbed of their lives by the god of this fallen world. I look at my childhood as being pretty much storybook compared to what is normal for most children today. Daycare, thuggary, stranger danger at every corner, parents who are completely uninterested and detached from family (and spend more time trolling talkbacks like this than mentoring their attention starved children) and being taught there is no God, or worse, good is evil and evil is good. Your review unearthed a memory of a movie that I'd completely forgotten seeing as a small child. I'm mid 40's now, so you may or may not be aware of what it is, or be familiar with it. It was black and white, and seems like it also dealt with a tree that was somehow touched by God (the big God...not the little god). I can remember bits and pieces only, of people taking pets or children who were sick or had just died to the tree and they were restored back to life. Something along those lines. I remember that movie giving me the same feeling I was already experiencing as a small child; a very real awareness of the presence of God, and that being extremely ominous, powerful, and foreboding, yet kind, gentle, and loving all at once. Just like a good father is. I can't for the life of me remember anything else about it other than this sounds like it could be the title of that movie from so long ago. I can't believe that memory has surfaced for the first time in probably 35-40 years! That movie evoked in the small child I was the same things you've so perfectly described in your review. I'm seeing this opening day.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:34 p.m. CST

    The Cannes crowd is spot on? Really?

    by ragingfluff

    Like when they booed 'Pulp Fiction' and it went on to win The Palme D'Or and Best Original Screenplay Oscar and make way more than its budget back at the box office???

  • May 17, 2011, 12:46 p.m. CST

    I can't believe Malick showed up at Cannes...

    by Aaronthenia

    I would have killed to have been in the audience when he showed up.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST

    There are dinosaurs and a giant meteor that ends them.

    by Quake II

    I read several reviews and apparently the movie features some of the most realistic dinosaurs ever put onto film. It also shows the meteor that takes them out. These events are shown so the audience can ponder "what was the point to create these amazing creatures only to destroy them all". Not sure why Harry didn't mention any of this. There's also a good amount of footage of the universe being born set to classic music. Sounds very 2001, which for me is a good thing.

  • May 17, 2011, 12:54 p.m. CST

    "The Victorian Mansion: Harry Knowles Biopic"

    by RandySavage

  • May 17, 2011, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Harry, I sent you a Pirates 4 review almost two weeks ago

    by Taragor

    No need to taint your day of ToL. Just post my review ;-) BTW, All this Harry Bashing is getting old. It's Harry's website, he should post his love or his disdain for movies as he wishes. None of us are paying to come here. I come here for the geek in me, and the enjoyment of the reviews, because I am INTERESTED in people like Harry and Massa's views. Ultimately it doesn't mean I will agree with the, but i know what I am in for when I come to the site. All I can say is, this is a huge year for movies, i am really enjoying what I have seen so far, and there is just so much to come!

  • May 17, 2011, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Nice review...

    by Fist Dirtbox

    Its easy to be dickish about Harry's more self indulgent reviews, but the passion in the words struck me as being sincere... ...and that is a fine thing for a movie to evoke. Well done sir.

  • May 17, 2011, 2 p.m. CST

    Very good review...

    by ccchhhrrriiisssm

    I have been on the fence about it...but I think that I will make an effort to watch it now. Good job, Harry!

  • May 17, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST

    wait so does this movie have Jesus in it or not?

    by crazybubba

    if it doesn't have Jesus then the French were right to criticize it.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:16 p.m. CST

    mr. nice gaius

    by AsimovLives

    "If the question was "Why?" and the answer was "Creation!"...there is little doubt that someone would respond, "Really?"." I would be one of those.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Harry, about the "emotionless audience reactions" form Canes...

    by AsimovLives

    ... or for that matter in all over Europe and many asian countries, you have to realise that in most of those continent countries, it's considered to be rude and in bad form to express loud reactions while watching a movie in a theater. In most countries, the attitude toward watching a movie in a theater is like reading a book in the library. And it makes sense. The idea of not makling a fuzz and not making emotional reactions is so not to disturb the other person's enjoyment of watching the film, likewise to reading a book in a public library. It's called being consicious of your fellow moviegoear. It's etiquette. It's manners. In fact, the american type way of watching movies and audience emotional reactions are the exception. You as an american, you are the exception. Think about it.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:31 p.m. CST

    For talkbackers to say that they will no longer watch

    by sweeneydave

    a film because it has been described as "Christian" is as shallow as a nonchristian refusing to see a movie because it's "worldly). Open your minds, people. Can't we all just get along?

  • May 17, 2011, 2:32 p.m. CST

    mr. nice gaius

    by AsimovLives

    Neither you nor your gay-ass lover Docpasshole can ever "own" me, you stupid idiots. Dream on.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Harry's reply to thetoiletbrush

    by knowthyself

    Is the best thing he's ever written on AICN. Kudos man in red.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Cannes also hated The Fountain.

    by knowthyself

    How could you hate The Fountain? Seriously.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:46 p.m. CST

    knowthyself

    by AsimovLives

    "How could you hate The Fountain? Seriously." Obviously you haven't been around here much.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:47 p.m. CST

    I think by now we know what to expect from Malick.

    by knowthyself

    The best directors spend their entire careers making the same film over and over again in different ways. Malick has a style that carries over from film to film and by now we all know what we're going to get with him. You either love his beautiful imagery set to narrative poetry or you don't. Personally I want more and there's no way more of his style could be bad.

  • May 17, 2011, 2:49 p.m. CST

    AssimovLives

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    We've been owning you since your days as BladeRunnerUnit. Sorry, Carlos.

  • Here's a taste of what's to come: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pyW6w5B7Aw

  • May 17, 2011, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Mr Mice Gayass cunt-ass

    by AsimovLives

    Yes, i know you still believe in that bullshit you pulled out of your ass. You believe in that shit like a fucking fundie or an al-qaeda fuckass. Bullshit without any support of any evidence whatsoever. The typical shit from a aretard liek you and you gay-ass fuckbuddy DocPasshole and all the other cunts from your little gay-ass fuck buddy group. What a bunch of stupid ass fucking cunts! Stupid fucks!

  • May 17, 2011, 3:19 p.m. CST

    knowthyself

    by AsimovLives

    If youa sk me, the world would do nicely if we had more filmmakers like Terrence Malick. It's sad and a testement of the failure of cinema as both art and entertaiment that filmmakers like him are so few and far between. Meanwhile, we are chokedful of stupud uintalented fucking hacks like Micahel Bay and JJ Abrams. Which are even praised! Cinema is dying, man.

  • May 17, 2011, 3:42 p.m. CST

    But if everyone was a genius.

    by knowthyself

    Then people like Malick wouldn't be so special and if every film was genius than movies like The New World wouldn't be so special. You need the crap so that you can truly appreciate what great art is.

  • May 17, 2011, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Wow. "cunt-ass" and "fuck-ass". Boy, that's showing us, Carlos!

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    I pity you.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Harry's right about it being a masterwork, but...

    by Krinkle

    ... I think he's wrong about it being a Christian film. It's spiritual, definitely, and deeply ABOUT religion. But, for instance, the key dinosaur moment (amazing, and totally Malick) does not come down on either side of the faith/no-faith argument, but quizzically in the middle... In fact, for those who've seen the film, what does that last scene imply about Jesus walking on water? (I'm not ruining anything...) It's an overwhelming film. Like seeing a hundred films at once - so dense, filled with the "movie moments" that only Malick can orchestrate, including a well-directed scene between a baby and a two-year-old! What patience that must require! There are almost no complete scenes in the movie: just telling moment after telling moment until you're just hypnotized.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Mr Mice Gayass, as i said many times before, go fuck yourself.

    by AsimovLives

    No, allow me to be nice and voice your deepest wish, get fucked in the ass by DocPasshole. We both know you want it.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    knowthyself

    by AsimovLives

    This is no 8 or 80 situation, friend. cinema would bnenefit from mroe genious like Terrence Malick. More genious making movies would be a good thing. And the crap filmmakers for comparision wouldn't need to be as many as they are today to work, would they? And if there would be no more crap movies ever made or crap filmmakers working, i have in my life seen so many shit movies to know what one looks like for the rest of my life to know it. Basically, i can tell what a good movie looks like without the need of a bad movie for comparison.

  • May 17, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Maybe Mallick knew about May 21, 2011

    by zillabeast

    THE SHITS GOIN DOWN BITCHES!!! REPRESENT!!!!

  • May 17, 2011, 5:08 p.m. CST

    TIFF

    by GulDucati

    Too bad Toronto is an armpit.

  • May 17, 2011, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Question:

    by jorson28

    The movie is about the "death of innocence," and this is good because...? So, once one learns to hate their parents, reject God in nearly all forms and acknowledge that most everyone (particularly if they've got more money and wear suits) is trying to either ruin your life or keep you in your place, then what? I guess the review confuses me. Is the movie about appreciating life and the world or just learning to see through it all and, basically, seeing past the beauty to the pure and unadulterated facts? And, by the way, what is the story? Or do the films of someone like Malick not need a story so long as they embrace the right concepts and/or viewpoints (politically and otherwise)?

  • May 17, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Seriously...

    by jorson28

    Maybe it's ignorance, but I cannot seem to get from this review what the movie is supposed to be about, or if it actually has any kind of real story - which I thought movies were supposed to have, but I guess that's just me and my "innocence." I seriously don't know if this movie is being praised because it makes one appreciate life and the world or just see everything potentially wrong about it. What's more, this is exactly why I don't put much stock into things like the standard script coverage because if people can make movies as ambiguous and with as little "story" as would seem to be in TREE OF LIFE (at least as represented in this review) and be praised for it, then what really constitutes a "bad" script - or even a "bad" movie, for that matter? Or, is there a story, and it's just not something with which this review concerns itself? Harry describes a character's SCENARIO or set of circumstances, but no plot or anything remotely resembling a narrative - traditional or otherwise.

  • May 17, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Seriously...

    by jorson28

    Maybe it's ignorance, but I cannot seem to get from this review what the movie is supposed to be about, or if it actually has any kind of real story - which I thought movies were supposed to have, but I guess that's just me and my "innocence." I seriously don't know if this movie is being praised because it makes one appreciate life and the world or just see everything potentially wrong about it. What's more, this is exactly why I don't put much stock into things like the standard script coverage because if people can make movies as ambiguous and with as little "story" as would seem to be in TREE OF LIFE (at least as represented in this review) and be praised for it, then what really constitutes a "bad" script - or even a "bad" movie, for that matter? Or, is there a story, and it's just not something with which this review concerns itself? Harry describes a character's SCENARIO or set of circumstances, but no plot or anything remotely resembling a narrative - traditional or otherwise.

  • May 17, 2011, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Nice non-review

    by darth_hideous

    It sounds like you didn't even see the film. Anybody who'd read 1 or 2 of the Cannes reviews could have authored this "review." So the question begs itself, did Harry even see this movie???

  • Oh, and you fail at life.

  • May 17, 2011, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Asimov

    by Roger Moon

    Have you been hitting the Bacalhoa Vinhos de Portugal Azeitao Catarina?! SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PLOWED lens flare

  • May 17, 2011, 6:33 p.m. CST

    Jesus, Harry

    by Fridge

    I want a review, not your childhood story. Trim that shit up, I can't even tell when you're talking about the movie and when you're talking about yourself.

  • May 17, 2011, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Dear Jorson 28, it IS ignorance...

    by Krinkle

    Yes, its ignorance. The propensity for people to clamor for "story" above all things in cinema is one thing that keeps the art-form grounded, and I mean "grounded" in a bad way. You know what's got a "story"? Pirates 4. It's got a lot of story, and almost all of it stinks. TREE has almost no story - but it has people and beauty and fear and orgiastic blasts of pure cinema - but sure, "What's the story?" :(... As far as I go, story ain't shit. Poetry, cinematics, execution, performance, meaning - all more important than this whole "inciting incident by page 30" groupthink mindset. If you really think there is only one way for movies to be good - i.e. to follow an A-Z storyline - then I just can't imagine what its like to be you. I'm sure you're a happy, healthy guy - but why are you so afraid of art?

  • May 17, 2011, 6:57 p.m. CST

    "France is french for Rapeland"

    by Subtitles_Off

    So, is Ain't It Hypocrisy News gonna go all-Polanski on Ahnold now? Or is that covered under the "We're Republicans, So You Can Lick Me" clause? "Hullo. I fokked yer mudda. I'm da biggest action stah of all-tahm. Here's sum money. Don't do drugs."

  • Now, I don't hold anything against narrative films. Storytelling itself can be an art when it's done right, either verbally or visually. But it all comes down to the artist's intention. If Malick tried to tell a complex story and failed, that's one thing. But if he's keeping the story part simple in favor of poetic images and words that carry meaning greater than their impact on the narrative, then the film needs to be evaluated on those grounds.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:08 p.m. CST

    What the fuck does Arnold have to do with "Tree of Life"?

    by D Ropaela

    Did I miss something?

  • May 17, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Besides, that's a false equivalency.

    by D Ropaela

    Arnold fathered a bastard or two with a consensual sex partner. Now, if you want to get into his grope-y past, that's another thing. But I don't see how that's timely.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Besides, that's a false equivalence.

    by D Ropaela

    Arnold fathered a bastard or two with a consensual sex partner. Now, if you want to get into his grope-y past, that's another thing. But I don't see how that's timely.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Subtitles Off, who did Arnold rape again?

    by Charlie_Sheens_Coke_Numbed_Penis

    I didn't hear about that one.

  • May 17, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I will see it

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    Hoping to be entertained. Then I will fall asleep 1/2 way into the movie. Then I'll find a recap on the internet to fill in the black hole.

  • May 17, 2011, 8:11 p.m. CST

    this film blew... defenition of OSCAR BAIT

    by Nick

    Vehicle just to get Brad Pitt an Oscar Nom... pathetic.

  • May 17, 2011, 9:03 p.m. CST

    genderblender

    by Fridge

    Just because your parents didn't love you doesn't mean I'm any less of a person because mine did. You sound like a typical feminist. You're not unique and none of your thoughts are special, original or your own. You're just another cog in the machine.

  • May 17, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST

    this great evil, where's it come from?

    by bellscorners

    all us jackasses apparently.

  • Jim Caviezel's character (Private Witt), while guilty of having been a deserter, was the complete antithesis of a "coward". In fact, he arguably was the bravest character in the movie. Not only did he perform above and beyond the call of duty as a stretcher-bearer...he fucking SACRIFICED HIS LIFE for his entire platoon, at the end of the movie. Maybe you might try watching the movie again...this time, with your eyes and ears (and mind) open.

  • Uh... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPKpFNm3QMM

  • May 17, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    @genderblender

    by TallanDagwood

    I have no idea if you are being serious or are just trying to gin up a discussion. If the former I truly feel sorry for your loss - even if you do not realize exactly what it is you are missing - sort of akin to a blind man or woman who while fully functional and happy in the only world they know, can never appreciate the sheer beauty of the world they do not. That would be you and how you feel about family and what family - real family means, and does and feels for one another. Not your fault at all. If you were raised in an environment that was as cold and sterile as you purport (and whether or not you realize how sterile it was; others who were raised in a more demonstrably supportive family, do) then it is understandable if you feel you must act the same. However, reasonably intelligent people (and from your posts one can discern you are such) have the ability to recognize that while they may have treated in a manner that is counter to the norm, they do not have to become that way themselves .

  • May 17, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST

    89% fresh rating on rottentomatoes, its getting great reviews...

    by Billy_D_Williams

  • so excited

  • May 18, 2011, 12:29 a.m. CST

    CHRISTIAN!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    by Queefer Sutherland

    Malick better be smarter than that! If this film is "Christian" then he's become a doddering old idiot of a film maker. I really wanted to see this movie, but that one word just about made me barf. Christians don't practice religion, they practice ignorance.

  • May 18, 2011, 2 a.m. CST

    mattman

    by AsimovLives

    Well, of cours,e comedies do have to have audiences laughing, or else it's a failure. Like you said it. But that's the only acceptable exception. If you go here and watch a movie, you will notice how quiet the audiences are, even in action movies where it's supposed for people to cheer. Those moments of reaction are left to the end of the movie or to intermissions if the theaters do those.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:01 a.m. CST

    bacon_aesthetic

    by AsimovLives

    The Quinta da Bacalhoa wines are great.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:10 a.m. CST

    krinkle and thatchicken made excelent points

    by AsimovLives

    I think most people mistake two difference concepts: story and incidents. To the point that they are pratically the same. It sems that to some, a movie only has a story only if it's packed full of incidents happening one after the other. Well, that is ONE TYPE os stytelling style. One type. There are many others. That the incident-full story type is now the most prevalent in blockbusters and even TV shows like Lost, seems to have made people took the mistaken assuption that's how a story should be and nothing else. Wrong. The irony is that too often, those incident-packed stories actualyl have very little story to them. It's just a collection of shit happening but without any overall story and narrative line. Meanwhile, ther's movieswith very little incidental stuff happening but the story is rich and complex. The 70s was a time where filmmakers seem experts in doing that. Frankly, i'm getting tired of this type of movies where it's incident-packed but where nothing much in real story actually happens. That type of story are utterly unconvincing, even in-universe. As a joke i call them "No Plot For Cardiacs" because any human being caugh up in such circunstances would had an heart-attack before the end of act one. On Lost, every character would had died in the pilot episode from stress and massive coronaries. So, a movie where "nothing happens" like TREE OF LIFE is welcome. At the very least it makes for a nice constrast. And that is not the only reason to welcome such a movie as Malick's latest.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:35 a.m. CST

    I know it's a cliche in some ways.. an this may

    by MoffatBabies

    come off as whiny, but I'm genuinely not complaining or blaming in any way whatsoever. But my dad was perfect. Did all the right stuff, showed up at the games. Took me fishing, talked to me. Showed me how to make things and take things apart to see how they worked. Taught me not to fear things I did not understand. Introduced me to the music of The Doors when he was FAR too old at the time to be into a band like that, I think just because he thought it was unique and didn't want me to listen to the disco crap that was on the radio at the time. Taught me to fight back if anyone ever tried to bully me, and to do so hard and fast. Not to let it build into rage. He sparked my interest in film by taking me to films like Close Encounters and Star Wars (opening night, both). ..and then he was just gone one morning and never came back... I reconnected with him years later but the man I met was a shell, shrunken and small. Weak and beaten, but still kind and genuine. We simply could not re-connect fully and I soon left to go back to live with my mother and sister. Many years later I was able to see him on his last day alive on this earth. I took my young son with me to see him. At one point, as my son was playing in the room while we waited for him to wake up, he looked down and instead of saying my son's name... he said mine. He thought my son was me. To this day it breaks my heart to bits to recall that moment in all it's disappointments and missed opportunities. Laid bare in that moment were all the things I could have done, all the things he could have done and all the things I knew even back then that my ex wife would do her best to prevent me from doing. Hold these people close to you while you can. But also remember that if you like who you are now, you have to recognize that the things that led up to this moment, positive AND negative, made you who you are now.. today. And if you can find a way to be thankful for that.. even if the good times were few and the bad were many.. if any of it was different, things could be worse. Hell, you might not even be alive. And what you do NOW.. today, this moment.. is the most important thing you will ever do. It always is and always was.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:45 a.m. CST

    and by the way...

    by MoffatBabies

    HARD atheist here. And I have absolutely no problem with any Christian ( or any spiritual or religious ) subtext in film, as long as it isn't cheesy. Admittedly, that leaves us with a rather short list of films, but there ya go.

  • May 18, 2011, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Subs!

    by Lee

    How's it going, mate? Haven't seen you around in ages (not that I've been here a lot).<P><P>Did you ever get back in with the PBers? I can't tell if they're still active or not...<P><P>As for this film, and, specifically, the art vs. story debate, I'm firmly planted on the side of story. Absolutely everything about the visual and thematic side amazes me, but unless it had a 'plot' of sorts, I find my patience tested. Though, that is directed more at tripe like Koyaanisqatsi. The Thin Red Line I would take to have a 'plot', however thin (christ...) it actually is.

  • May 18, 2011, 3:46 a.m. CST

    My god! Line breaks don't work anymore.

    by Lee

  • May 18, 2011, 4:14 a.m. CST

    HARRY YOU KNOW SHIT ABOUT CANNES!

    by KFS

    Cannes has critics, moviegeeks from all around the world. You probably hanged with the tight ass press but me and my bunch we enjoy the festival as if we were in a genre fe'stival like Sitges or FantasticFest. Being french or godless (news to me that french are godless, if only we would avoid a lot of trouble... Proves you know shit also about the country too) has nothing to do with anything. You say it's maybe too american, also a stupid statement wich diminish the power of Malick. The movies themes and characters are universal. A japanese, an algerian could relate to this story. The people who booed (probably because of the religious parts of the movie) did not even think how come Malick take the time to show us the creation of the universe in a scientific way. They are just as Dumb as you. Saw it yesterday liked it save for the ending which is a bit self indulgent directory wise, kept on going a bit too long for my taste. Bit disapointed by some of the cgi effects where i expected more chemical and model work.

  • May 18, 2011, 4:18 a.m. CST

    ABOUT THE DINOS CGI

    by KFS

    They work fine but don't expect to be amazed (probably less than 2mins on screen). Jurrassic Park ones are still the best. Yet the scene where 2 dinos meet is pretty nice story wise.

  • May 18, 2011, 4:21 a.m. CST

    boring and pretentious

    by bellscorners

    Words used to describe TTRL. I don't get it. You have three types of characters in that movie. The majority are apathetic (you'll recall that Reilly's characters tells Penn's how he feels when he sees someone dying), you have a sort of singular character that sees something brighter (really only Witt), and then you have Penn, who is the fence-sitter. This movie is about glory, and being able to see it, those of us who do, those of us who don't, and those of us who want to but struggle to do so. If I never meet you in this life, let me feel the lack. I don't fully understand Malick's vision, but there is something inherently positive and reaffirming about this movie, even if the world manages to kill (or he manages to kill himself) the one character who perceives an alternate reality. When it's so easy to be jaded, and comes to us so naturally, I think this movie is a bit of a standout. I came out feeling uplifted, maybe just because it identified the duality so starkly, talking about evil and where it comes from, then asking the same question about love. As for the Sean Penn character (whose soul is the one that is being fought for, maybe shades of Platoon actually but a little more subtle), the question is one for us to answer, and ultimately ambiguous in terms of resolution. Isn't that answer ambiguous for us too? I just really liked that the question was posed in the manner shown - it's not the first time in a movie, but it's the one that got the most traction with me. I genuinely believe there is something profound at work in this movie, and that just doesn't happen enough.

  • May 18, 2011, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Automatic ticket purchase

    by WaterBaby

    After all, this is the man who gave us this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhj4b5CzyhU Is there a finer 4 minutes in the last 2 decades of film?

  • May 18, 2011, 7:12 a.m. CST

    If this flick had Muslim themes no one would care...

    by alienindisguise

    but Christian themes...OH NO THAT'S SO OFFENSIVE! If truth and enlightenment is offensive then go fuck off with the retarded atheists who can see nothing in this world but their over inflated egos and wrong points of view.

  • May 18, 2011, 8:56 a.m. CST

    yes waterbaby.. surprised you forgot this... here ya go.

    by tailhook

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ5TajZYW6Y Easily far better.

  • May 18, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Terrence Malick films.

    by tailhook

    Are the type of films that people feel the need to 'explain' to you, and usually that 'take' on the film is just pulled straight out of their hind end. The reality is that it is what it is, a dull and boring couple hours of your life wasted. Its like when your liberal friend takes you to the modern art museum and just starts making stuff up about each piece so it seems like he sees something you don't. *Art* in their terms is more reflective of themselves and the people they are told are "artists" than anything the "artist" intended with the piece. In reality, if its worth anything... it doesn't need to be 'explained' and succeeds on its own merits. I don't need to be explained why the Mona Lisa, or really much else that is truly great, is great.

  • May 18, 2011, 9:47 a.m. CST

    MOFFAT

    by BSB

    Beautiful post. I got teary-eyed, seriously.

  • May 18, 2011, 10:40 a.m. CST

    AssimovLives - In the immortal words of Pedro Nunes...

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    ...you are one big, useless pile of Portuguese shit.

  • May 18, 2011, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Great stuff moffatbabies

    by DoctorWho?

    A poignant post amidst the usual white noise around here. Props brother.

  • May 18, 2011, 12:37 p.m. CST

    As far as the Christian stuff goes...

    by DoctorWho?

    ...Aren't some of you aware that it IS possible to glean some lessons, self-knowledge, wisdom and beauty from a doctrine and NOT have to believe in it wholesale? You know, like countless other timeless tales, fables and myths do? There's value in those things. Where's the animosity to those tales?<p> I doubt this film has any 'in your face' evangelical or Jehova's Witness style prosthelytizing. I'm guessing the Christian stuff is indirect or even secondary to the story but I haven't seen it yet.<p> I'm no Christian but I'm always curious about the animosity and intolerance on full display as if they are somehow threatened by this stuff. It's curiously the same people who scream 'tolerance' from the roof tops. <p> Just watch the fucking movie and find the underlying message. I don't think Malick and Pitt are trying to convert you.

  • May 18, 2011, 12:47 p.m. CST

    viggeo_morgenstein

    by AsimovLives

    I'm an ahteist, Richard Dawkins style hardcore. It means i know that gods and the supernatural are the product of our human imagination. It doesn't stop me from loving Martin Scorsese's THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST or Pasolini's THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATHEW (who himself was an atheist and a communist and he made the best Jesus movie ever made), or enjoying a good ghost horror movie (I count THE SHINING not just as one of my favorite horror movie, but one of my favorite movie). It's like with UFOs, just because i don't believe that the sighted UFOs are aliens vising us, or that there has ever been aliens vising us in the past, that doesn't prevent me from loving CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE 3RD KIND or 2001 A SPACE ODDYSSEY, if you know what i mean.

  • Once i used to be very critical of Philip Glass's music. I got better.

  • May 18, 2011, 12:57 p.m. CST

    As for that Godless French stereotype, it's bulslhit

    by AsimovLives

    If FRanc ehas a problem, is that it's udnermined by lots of influences from hardcore diedhard catholics who keep trying to underwhelme the more positive stuff made by the humanitian and secular people. THe actions of the creppy Opus Dei is very prevalwent in France. And France is a super catholic country, specially in the countryside. It's as catholic as Italy, Poland or Spain. The church is still a very powerful influence in the lives of the french. YEs, there seem to be more atheists in europe then there seem to be in the USA, but there's no country in Europe where they would be considered the majority, quite the contrary. Atheists in Europe are like in USA, a minority. And i jsut hope that Harry didn't claimed French to be godkless because they are mostly catholics, instead of protestants as the majority of americans are. Seeing a god believer protestant criticing a catholic (or vice-versa) is one of the funiest shit i can ever get to see, because it looks like two fools discussing who's right, he who believes in the tooth fairy or he who believes in the easter bunny. Two bullshits do not make a right.

  • May 18, 2011, 12:58 p.m. CST

    alienindisguise, don't be daft!

    by AsimovLives

  • May 18, 2011, 1:03 p.m. CST

    tailhook

    by AsimovLives

    ACtually, there is need to explain why the Mona Lisa is such a great painting. The Mona Lisa (really called La Giaconda) is not a great painting just because it's a nice painting of a pretty lady. The greatness of that painting is because of the absolute mastery of thechnique in display in the painting, much of it subtle or invisible to ignrants, but which is stagering if you actually know what you are seeing. THe Mona Lisa painting is pratically an encylcopadia of painting technique of the 16th and century and 17th century in one single package, in one single picture. What Da Vinci was able to put in it is simply stagering! But you donow know that and you just think that looking at it will simply tell you what a good painting it is. Wrong. If you know the historical background to it, if you know who made it and the objective of that painting, and most importantly, the techniques used by Da Vinci, that's when the painting becames the masterpiece that it is. There's more to appreciate art then just be a passive observer. You actually have to think about it. You have to use the brain. Or else you are just scrapping surfaces, if even that.

  • May 18, 2011, 1:57 p.m. CST

    asimov...

    by tailhook

    Honestly... all that shit is just sauce for the goose. You can look at the Mona Lisa and tell its of a fundamentally different level of skill than the other paintings, for all the reasons you mentioned. If you're the type that gets all up into how that stuff is made, then good for you.. but thats just the nuts and bolts. Heck, if you really want to go deep into it, its been shown that use of the camera obscura was fairly common in those days and served as the 'virtual scaffolding' that a lot of the 'masters' used to generate their works. Most certainly didn't do that shit freehand or solely from a freehand sketch... which is what a lot of art folks would like you to believe.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Assimov - HA, HA! Gotcha. You're so easy to rile up it's pathetic.

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    "alive of death" - Another gem! You really are too much fun. I hate you, I really do. No...I love you.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:34 p.m. CST

    gotta love asimov

    by crazybubba

    he goes from an intellectual argument about Mona Lisa and art to playground name calling in less than 30 seconds.

  • May 18, 2011, 2:41 p.m. CST

    MONA LISA IS A DUDE

    by BSB

  • May 18, 2011, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Mr. Nice Gaius, how DARE you utter the name of Pedro Nunes!!!

    by DoctorWho?

    Whoever the fuck that is. You really stirred up some ethnic/nationalistic pride there. <p> I wonder if any people of Portuguese descent worked on J.J's Star Trek...dude's head might explode!

  • May 18, 2011, 3:38 p.m. CST

    shubniggorath

    by foree forehead

    i would've thought it's more the guys shooting at the other guys that get people killed in combat?

  • May 18, 2011, 3:41 p.m. CST

    I hope it's not gonna a waste of time like the Fountain

    by chien_sale

    At the end of the movie I was like, that's it? Felt more like a artsy student progect more than anything else.

  • May 18, 2011, 5:39 p.m. CST

    DoctorWho?

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    I know, right?! Can you imagine? I don't think the silly twat could take it...ergo shotgun to mouth. BTW - feel free to pick a less-than-popular Portuguese person and have fun with the joke.

  • And you are a stupid piec eof shit that is not good enough to name a single portuguese, dead or alive. You are not worth of it, because you are a complete total shit. What part of it you do not understand, you shit?

  • May 18, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST

    tailhook

    by AsimovLives

    The nuts and bolts is what makes Mona Lisa great. You should read about it, and your mind will be boggled. The paiting is a real lesson on such things as perspective and other such optical phenomena. REally, look it up, and be blown away.

  • May 18, 2011, 5:53 p.m. CST

    crazybubba

    by AsimovLives

    It's not playground name calling, it's jsut describing Mr Mice Gayass exactly as he is. You don't call water by any other name, do you? Same thing with the Mr Gayass fuckass. He is shit, so he as be called as such. It's just being accurate, that's all.

  • May 18, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST

    doctorwho?

    by AsimovLives

    Pedro Nunes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Nunes Enjoy.

  • May 18, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST

    RE: Telling you how it is

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    Like how we've owned you since your days as BladeRunnerUnit. Oh, and yes, you are being riled by me. Otherwise, you would have quit replying yesterday.

  • May 19, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST

    I like Malick...

    by jackofhearts29

    But I sense doo-doo from this product. I know that even a great man can weep when he contemplates his own doo-doo. But this may not entertain everyone else. I mean, DINOSAURS?!? I'll check it out when it's on demand, but give me a break.

  • May 19, 2011, 4:08 a.m. CST

    halfbreedqueen

    by AsimovLives

    Indeed.

  • May 19, 2011, 4:10 a.m. CST

    lenny8

    by AsimovLives

    Harry does what any artist does. Only, Harry's art is his reviews. What i wrote above just gave me pause.

  • May 19, 2011, 4:26 a.m. CST

    That's a shame Harry.

    by VicenzoV

    You didn't fully appreciate Badlands when you were 2 years old?

  • May 19, 2011, 5:29 a.m. CST

    viggeo_morgenstein

    by AsimovLives

    Most definatly genious is a good description of composer Philip Glass. While he's not unique in that movie style, he basically put it on the map. He's the pope of american musical minimalism. He's also a very good interviewee, he came across as very intelligent, informative and even funny in the Koyaanisqatsi's DVD making off documentary. Koyaanisqatsi is just great. I like Baraka better, but there would be no Baraka without Koyaanisqatsi, so there's that. I'm an hardcore atheist and i'm proud of it. It's with great sadness in my heart that i see the world returning to superstition. And i'm really digging you too, fella. Just because we have divergence of opinions (as we would) doens't mean i don't respect you and find you a fun guy to chat with.

  • May 19, 2011, 6:18 a.m. CST

    BADLANDS, what a great movie

    by AsimovLives

  • May 19, 2011, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Atheists

    by MorganLeafy

    Less harmfull than religions fanatics, but wrong all the same. I think it's all to easy and arrogant to dismiss all religion and spirituality. They only question is how to define 'God'.

  • May 19, 2011, 8:47 a.m. CST

    There's an awful smell of goat on this talkback

    by Lost Jarv

    Oh, that's right, it's that bitch Goatfucker whinging again. When you've finished begging us to save your poxy little tumour of a country from penury, then you can fetch your fucking shine box. Oh, and in the words of Tony Ferrino: Fuck off.

  • May 19, 2011, 9:12 a.m. CST

    My reply

    by MorganLeafy

    Well aren’t you a sharp one. For the most part I agree with you, but there are a few nuances that make a world of difference. First of all the ‘God’ as you just described is dismissed in The God Illusion. Dawkins states that defining God as such is too easy and that’s the first point I don’t agree with him. It is exactly in that area that we should look for the existence of God, not as an unmoved mover but as a non-intrusive entity that surrounds us. We are God, yes, but there is more. The answer can be found in the complexity theory as you said. It is exactly this theory that states that there is a hidden ‘order’ in all the non-linear chaos. Reality cannot fully be described in equations. There is no scientist in the world that can predict the outcome of a sports game with the theory of quantum mechanics. Life has evolved according to the rules of chaos, but that doesn’t answer the fundamental ‘why’ question of it all. Things are the way they are but what is the higher purpose of that? Why do I enjoy Arranofsky movies, the sight of my dearest, my tail wagging dog or the taste of beer? I call that God, the hidden beauty in the universe that is there, which cannot be described in formulas and which certainly does deserve my praise. Please read the flawed but insightful work ‘Reinventing the sacred’. To conclude, obviously I hate organized religion that oppresses and judges, but it is the fundamental nature of man. I pity the people trapped in such a religion but that has little to do with the existence of God.

  • May 19, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    wally

    by shodan6672

    The French also booed Wild at Heart. What's your point?

  • May 19, 2011, noon CST

    colossalgoatfuck69

    by shodan6672

    If a genius like Malick is a "waste of skin" what are you then, a waste of abundant adipose tissue?

  • May 19, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Atheism

    by shodan6672

    I am an atheist and love Malick's films. There are obvious Christian undertones in his films, but they are presented with maturity and with staggering beauty. It's impossible not to appreciate them. I wouldn't ignore Michelangelo because he focused on religious themes, would I?

  • May 19, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    viggeo_morgenstein

    by AsimovLives

    Back at ya too, brother.

  • May 19, 2011, 1:58 p.m. CST

    morganleafy

    by AsimovLives

    You show quite a bit of ignorance about what is atheist and atheists. Most people of faith do. Inm fact, it's easier for an atheist to understand religious people and religion then religious people to understand atheism and atheists. Their own people of faith nature cames as an handicap for such understanding. You might believe that you are in some midle ground position, and in that you are mroe in the right. But that's a fallacy. It's a fallacy called "Argument to moderation". Let me explain it by an example. Consider water. You will have some people sayign that water is wet, and the other group says that water is dry. And then there's another group who tries to present a middle ground solution and say that water is moisty. Now, accoring to all those who believe in the middle ground solution, the notion of water being moisty is the correct one because it's placed in the middle of two extreme positions. The fallacy of this position is that it doesn't take uinto account that in some circunstances, the extreme position is the correct one. In this case, ther eis only one true solution, and that the one that states that water is wet, because it truly defines it. Both the other extreme position (water is dry) and the moderate position (water is moisty) are wrong. Life, being the complciated thing that it is, doesn't just stand for middle ground solutions all the time. It's a fallacy that can have bad consequences.

  • May 19, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    viggeo_morgenstein

    by AsimovLives

    If we would define god as nature, as you saida bove, then we could say that the pantheists of old were correct, or rather, more correct then all those later more transcendental religions like the 3 major abrahamic monotheist religions. What many faith people don't udnerstand is that many ahteists actually care and have an interest in the study of religion. And in fact, they end up understanding the tenents of faith even better then the faith people who profess to follow them. If i had a buck for every christian or muslim who misunderstands their own faith and have their faith based on wrong assuptions, i would be richer then George Lucas.

  • May 19, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST

    viggeo_morgenstein

    by AsimovLives

    Lost Jerkass is an obnoxious dumb twat cunt. But if like him, it just proves you are a man of a great capacity to accept your fellow man regardless of their great flaws. It's quite very Terrence Malickian of you, actually.

  • May 19, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    shodan6672

    by AsimovLives

    Very well said. In fact, i have no problem at all with regilion as art. In fact, i love sacred art.

  • May 19, 2011, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Here's where I drop in to say...

    by FluffyUnbound

    ...that the problem with Malick's films is that they aren't very profound, but they desperately want us to think they are profound. A lot of you guys see beauty and narrative poetry and deep insights into the meaning of things in his work. I see nothing I didn't hear from every stoner I went to college with. And that, to me at least, makes the praise heaped on Malick tedious to me. Every Malick work is "Peter Griffin takes a long walk to 'Dust in the Wind'" stretched out to feature length.

  • May 19, 2011, 4:29 p.m. CST

    fluffyunbound

    by AsimovLives

    I have to disagree wioth you there, friend. Malick's movies are profound. If ther eis one criticism i can understand about Malick's movies is when some peope, cilam them to be boring. I disagree, but i understand why anyone would say so. But as for lack of profoundity or lack of ideas, i think that's just criticising for it's own sake.

  • May 19, 2011, 5:26 p.m. CST

    melonman

    by AsimovLives

    "but I'm not taking it as read that it's an instant masterpiece" Of course.

  • May 19, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Say goodbye to your family before viewing...

    by lick_my_rebel_dick

    Cause if this fucker will probably put you in a coma for a long, long time.

  • May 19, 2011, 6:59 p.m. CST

    very happy...

    by eric

    ...to hear this. Glad that Harry is open minded and not a hater. Malick is someone you have to give yourself up to and immerse yourself in.

  • May 19, 2011, 8:08 p.m. CST

    The only Canne Harry knows about is this http://tinyurl.com/3khb3gx

    by Stuntcock Mike

    This fucking article Harry..... I don't know man. Time to grow up.

  • May 19, 2011, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Malick

    by dukeroberts

    This picture is probably pretentious poppycock like the rest of Malick's productions. Plenty of pondering and ponderous prattle. Pish posh!

  • May 20, 2011, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Harry you're such a whore

    by george

    ^_^

  • May 20, 2011, 4:46 a.m. CST

    crap

    by george

    you can't delete messages can you. Crap. Don't drunk post on AICN!

  • May 20, 2011, 12:32 p.m. CST

    viggeo...

    by tailhook

    emotional crutches like... 'it's quite easy to dismiss organized religion'? I really loved your prattle about how you encourage people to 'make up their own mind'. What this is is code for, 'believe what I believe'. Left, Right, Middle, religious, non-religious... it doesn't really matter. They all want you to believe what they believe. Even the Independent.. who believe what nobody believes, want you to believe what they believe. The simple fact is... you pick the devil you run with and that works for you. If you find that helpful, kudos. If you don't, find something that works for you.

  • May 22, 2011, 1:49 p.m. CST

    The Palme d'Or winning The Tree of Life

    by Seph_J

    Go Terrence Malick. Goddam legend.

  • May 22, 2011, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Soooo, this just won the Palme D'Or

    by Hamish

    So the audience at Cannes were booing? Doesn't seem to have hurt the film any with the judges. Cannes audiences are probably full of pretentious assholes that will never have an influence on true lovers of film.

  • May 23, 2011, 12:05 p.m. CST

    An audience that is all there to believe in Malick...

    by m_prevette

    Soooo where is that audience exactly?

  • May 23, 2011, 1:46 p.m. CST

    This I gotta see

    by Jaymie69

    I love the fountain so maybe this will give me the same buzz

  • May 23, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Pretentious piece of garbage

    by Nabster

    Trust me, no one likes Malik or his shitty films, people just pretend to. And Harry how dare you censor my tweets you fat ass. This is America not Bulgaria.

  • May 23, 2011, 7:35 p.m. CST

    Fatso Harry likes this pretentious piece of garbage?

    by Nabster

    Is anyone surprised? And of course Harry wept. He has indigestion from eating a fried chicken for breakfast every day.

  • May 30, 2011, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Just saw it... brilliant, but not a perfect film

    by Winston Smith

    There may be some spoilers here. As with all of Malick's films, I thought it had very specific ideas and themes and genuine character traits and arcs. It wasn't just pretty images. However, yes, the film in many ways does feel like a collection of memories, but they're well edited memories, memories that aren't purely random or without literal purpose. I also think that Malick has been working up to this film his entire career. Part of what is so impressive is that this film FEELS LIKE human memories put right onto screen. In that, it's about 90% actual events, but like our own memories, we will have fantastical visions that are our hopes and worries in literal form. There's a scene with the mother in a glass cage in the forest that really demonstrates this, along with a lot of other moments (including swimming through a bedroom and a floating and swirling character in the front yard). The other thing I loved about the way the film was structured is also, like memories, sometimes a glimpse of something will remind us of something totally unrelated. The way a person takes a step, or the way sunlight hits something, we'll quickly flash to an earlier moment and flash back. There's a lot of great uses of this, and I think this may be what confuses some people, but I felt the film never lost track. It's like remembering a specific event: the basics are there, but occasionally it'll lead you to another moment, or you'll take a moment and have a flight of fancy in the way you regard your emotions to that event. Sometimes I wonder if even Malick fans really listen to the dialogue and the story in his films, because this is where I get to my issues with the film. The biggest is simply, and some spoilers are here so don't read ahead if you don't want anything spoiled, but we open about 10 years after the majority of the family stuff with the death of one of the children (I'm assuming a war time death with the telegram, like Vietnam maybe?) However, we're not yet attached to this family, so you get a powerful performance that doesn't really mean much. The film should have just opened with Sean Penn, the older brother as an adult, and we see he's clearly mourning the loss of someone (lights the candle, his voice-over, etc.) But we don't know who or how or what. I would have saved the scene of the death - well more the reaction to the death - for the end. Sure, maybe that's a bit more typical storytelling device, but it would have had more impact, and I don't think anyone would ever accuse this film of doing anything cliche regarding plot points. I would have saved the opening moments for near the end, when we end up on the beach of memories (love the way this old trope is visualized) and I would have returned to the dinosaurs, to bring that back in. The birth of the universe and of life on Earth stuff is incredible, but I felt like we needed a bit more of it at the end. I think it could have worked to have seen the death of the dinosaurs now from their perspective on Earth as the comet strikes down, and intercut that with Chastain on the beach with her young son again. This also would have helped to involve the audience a bit more in the film, I think. I'll admit, it took me about 25 minutes before I began to become invested in the story and the characters. It does happen, but the beginning has a lot of dramatic weight that hasn't yet been earned. With this said, though, this film completely lived up to my expectations, and in some ways surpassed them. It may be a diamond in the rough but it's still a diamond, something completely bold and unique, and probably the most accurate recreation of the human memory and the way our memories work ever put to screen. And yes, the audience I saw it with was very mixed, with some people clapping at the end, and others walking out. An older couple walked out about 30 minutes in when the dinosaurs show up, loudly stating to her annoyed husband, "what a waste of time, this is the stupidest movie ever made." I was kinda shocked, I mean, these two were here on opening day, I would have assumed they would have a vague idea what they were getting into. In fact, they were old enough that they probably walked out of 2001 back in 1968. "How did the bone turn into a spaceship, stupidest movie ever made!" Who leaves during the DINOSAURS?!?

  • June 6, 2011, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Arteska and Adolfwolfli

    by Cletus Van Damme

    I'm the same way. I will take a random vacation day or personal day on a Friday and go to my local theater and see the very first showing (usually between 11am-noon), so that I am one of maybe only 4 people in the theater. Usually, one of those other three douches still has a 5-minute cellophane struggle with his sack of Twizzlers, but it's FAR better than trying to go see anything at night or, God forbid, a midnight showing.

  • June 11, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST

    The movie was great until

    by Subtitles_Off

    the last bit. I wish they had ended it before Frodo walked around in the desert saying goodbye to all the fairies.

  • July 18, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST

    I also loved it but did not really dig the ending

    by Autodidact

    One of the greatest movies I've seen. The ending didn't really resonate with me. I felt it should have ended with the edge-on shot of the milky way, seeming to be shot from the surface of some asteroid floating in intergalactic space (maybe it's just wayyyyy out on the edge of a spiral arm). I can see how it's supposed to work thematically but I don't understand what the figurative logic is meant to be. Not really a criticism though. Given a magic editing button by a genie, I think I'd still let Malick have final cut.

  • LMAO For real, that gots me a rollin' right now. Just watched the 2001 Blu Ray and did an essay on that very match cut for a film class I was taking. Anyway, I saw this today before it left the theater. Unfortunately the theater I saw it in was horrid. Tiny screen, bad print, head right in front of my face, right speaker was distorted. Should have just waited until Blu Ray because this thing was FUCKING BEAUTIFUL. I mean, it was pretentious beyond all excuse. The ending was horrid. (And this means something coming from me, as I continue to defend the ending of A.I. with my life, even a decade later -- THEY'RE NOT ALIENS MAN, THEY'RE LIKE SUPER ADVANCED YADDA YADDA ETC. Yeah. I'm THAT guy.). Just...Terrence. Dude. Enough with the beach and the way she's waving her hands and giving her son up and blah blah blah. BUT STILL. But still. Awesome movie. Cried a couple times, almost fell asleep a couple times, laughed a couple times. Completely rewarding, frustrating, and thought provoking. A stunning, flawed masterpiece. Loved it though. Should have ended with more apocalyptic space shit, and I'm seriously not trying to sound like a complete idiot here. I mean the desolate earth falling into the sun, etc. Instead, err...okay. There's a bridge. And the like, smoky spirit light thing-a-ma-bob. I understand fine sir, master of the film making universe sir, that it's a bridge we can choose to cross sir, to find our lord and savior or whatever. Sir. But honestly, this film? Hell, this film could have cut to Malick's very own anus taking a dump on the camera lens before the credits rolled and I STILL would have stood up and applauded. 4 Stars!

  • ...a few posts up as he/she was trying to delve into the mind of somebody who had walked out. Had me laughing. And BTW, no one walked out when I saw it, at least not that I could tell. What? You mean I'm 3 months late and nobody is every going to read this? *gets naked*

  • Jan. 21, 2012, 11:07 p.m. CST

    SERIOUSLY

    by Michael

    Can not believe I'm actually writing about this piece of human dog dung. One of the worst movies I have ever seen. The fact that this site actually has this on some sort of list is disturbing. How can this combination of Discovery Channel BS and warped Leave it to Beaver nostalgia warrant anyone's attention is beyond me. W

  • Jan. 21, 2012, 11:16 p.m. CST

    whalestrom

    by Michael

    It just keeps sucking!!!!!!