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Nordling Says THE TREE OF LIFE Is A Brilliant Masterwork!


Nordling here.

Audiences who engage with Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE may find that it will be impossible to watch without bringing their own personal history, their emotional baggage, their own family experiences with them to the film.  The film’s considerable power comes from Malick’s ability to go to a universal place and yet still make the film seem very personal and relevant to each individual who sees it.  It is possible to view the film empirically.  Just from the one viewing that I had, I feel it is a masterwork, but it resonates with me with such force that I find myself unable to think about the film without it being filtered by my own life experiences.  I do not think I will be the only one who feels that way about this film.

THE TREE OF LIFE is absolutely not for everyone.  It’s quiet, contemplative, and it rewards patience and understanding.  Many moviegoers will flat out hate it – they will hate Malick’s refusal to tell his story with a conventional narrative; they will hate Malick’s flights-of-fancy that will come off to some as incredibly indulgent; they will hate the fact that Malick devotes most of the film to a portrait of a family in small-town 1950s Texas and think that it is not a subject deserving of so much time and attention. The criticisms put against this film – it’s indulgent, pretentious, too long – could be valid for a moviegoer unused to working with a film the way Malick requires.  The film is as full and as long as Malick needs it to be; critics of the length remind me of AMADEUS’s Mozart asking which notes he should take out of his opera.  He has a journey in mind, and he will not skip any step, because as so many have said before, the point isn’t about where you arrive but how you got there.  But Malick tells this story the only way he can, and how audiences respond to it is very much what the movie is about, as opposed to any kind of linear narrative path.

We begin with a Bible verse of Job 38: 4, 7 – “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”  But the film doesn’t approach religion from a strictly Christian perspective (although its influence on Malick is clear).  The film’s theme is specified in the opening dialogue from Mrs. O’Brien – "There are two ways through life. The way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you will follow."  Nature, we are told, is selfish and full of itself.  Grace is love, and the giving of oneself to a higher calling or power.  From there we are taken on a journey through the very foundations of the universe, and into the inner workings of the human heart.  Malick’s film suggests that the difference is miniscule.

Each scene in THE TREE OF LIFE doesn’t play out in a traditional narrative sense – we are either in someone’s inner imaginings, or we are dropped into a remembrance without any pretense.  However, the film is not without plot.  Instead of laying out each scene with a narrative precision, the film puts us in the emotional perspective of the character.  This film isn’t so much watched as it is lived through.  Brad Pitt plays domineering but loving Mr. O’Brien, who is a strict taskmaster to his children and seems unable to express into words his deep, stirring inner feelings.  On the other end of the spectrum is Mrs. O’Brien (Jessica Chastain) who isn’t so much a character as she is an ideal of motherhood.   Jack (Hunter McCracken as a child, Sean Penn as an adult) is very much the product of these two powerful figures in his life.  The film is bookended by modern day sequences in Houston – and I’ve never seen Houston look as beautiful as how Emmanuel Lubezki shoots it here, all glass and sunlight – as Jack remembers his conflicted youth, and the loss of his brother.  In the film’s opening, Mrs. O’Brien receives a letter, a telegram that shatters the O’Briens – the death of their child R.L. (Laramie Eppler, who looks uncannily like Pitt) when he is 19.  It is assumed, because of the time and the manner of the telegram that he dies in Vietnam, but I think Malick deliberately left this vague, especially in today’s present circumstances.  It doesn’t matter how he died – what matters is that his death sends the family into a deep questioning of their faith and why it happened.  Mrs. O’Brien, in particular, takes R.L.’s death hard, asking God why, and receiving little comfort.  

It’s in this part of the film that Malick takes us into the depths of Creation and into the beginnings of life on Earth.  Audiences may struggle with the meaning behind it, but that’s the point – when we are given difficult moments in our lives, we question why, and our thoughts may turn to the very foundations of the universe to find our answer.  This 20-minute sequence takes us from the creation of everything to the pool of water where the first life takes shape, to dinosaurs on the beach and in a forest, and in all of this we are shown the aspects of Mrs. O’Brien’s argument of nature and grace.  Huge in scope, Malick himself seems to search for the truth as much as Mrs. O’Brien.  Nature can be cruel, as demonstrated in a sequence where two dinosaurs meet in a forest, one dinosaur putting his heel to the other, fallen dinosaur’s head, almost teasing, much like a brother teases his younger. 

From these origins of the world we go to Waco, Texas, and a loving couple, as they fall in love and have children.  The three O’Brien boys, Jack, R.L., and Steve (Tye Sheridan), behave as children do – they play, they do their father’s bidding, they grow.  R.L., especially, seems a sensitive youth, into music (in one of my favorite scenes of the film R.L. sits on the porch outside playing guitar as his father quietly accompanies him on the piano).  The youngest, Steve, is quiet and unassuming.  But it is Jack, the oldest, who is the most tempestuous, questioning his father’s authority and his own place in the world.  The film portrays childhood wonderfully and truthfully – never has a film captured quite so well what it is like to be a young boy with the infinite summer ahead of him.  In the meantime, Mr. O’Brien is struggling; feeling rejected by his peers and neighbors, he is increasingly tougher on his children as they grow older.  In his rebellious nature, Jack starts to push back, and this becomes the central conflict of the film.  Will Jack go the way of nature, or of grace?  Is he his father’s son, or his mother’s, or both?

Brad Pitt is amazing in his performance.  It is a simplification to say that he’s a simple abusive father.  For Mr. O’Brien, his children are his hope to achieve in ways that he has not, and he truly loves them.  At the same time, every moment of anger pushes them further and further away, and he is incapable of articulating the storm of emotion within him.  Jessica Chastain is terrific as well, although as I said, her character is a very broad portrait of motherhood as opposed to anything specific.  She seems to live to serve her husband, and only when he is gone away on a trip that she comes to life with the children, playing and enjoying life.  Young Hunter McCracken’s Jack doesn’t feel like a performance – it feels like a life.  His curiosity, his imagination, and his love for his family all shine through.  It is an entirely genuine performance.  Sean Penn isn’t in it much, but his performance is essential as a touchstone to the audience, especially in the film’s ending, which will either send filmgoers out either enraptured or just confused.  I felt that the ending was Malick’s way of making peace with loss, and found it very effective.

Emmanuel Lubezki’s camerawork is transcendent.  It’s one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen.  The way he captures the light, the angles, and the playful movement – it’s cinematography on a level that seems larger than any accolades that could be thrown at it.  Alexandre Desplat’s score is triumphant, and as the focus of the film shifts from cosmic to intimate in a breath’s time, his music accentuates the shift and stays cohesive.  The effects work of the Creation sequence is immaculate – Douglas Trumbull of 2001 and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND was a consultant on the visual effects, and it shows.  There is a real weight to each vision, and as we go from the very foundations of the universe to present day Texas, it feels effortless.

But it is Terrence Malick, the master filmmaker, who creates something truly amazing with THE TREE OF LIFE.  The film is a prayer, without being any specific religion (although the underpinnings seem decidedly Christian).  The film’s portrayals of spirituality and our relationship to the universe and each other are very universal, and yet, I felt the film was intensely specific to my own life.  I imagine my experience with THE TREE OF LIFE will not be unique.  The film is both epic and intimate, both grandiose and personal, and challenging to the extreme.  There will be those who will not be open to what the film offers.  Because the film refuses to follow a traditional narrative, because the film wears its emotions on its sleeve, and because of the length, if you are not a diehard film fan, willing to take risks, I cannot recommend this film.  As for me, I’ve seen it once, and I know I’ll be seeing it again.  This summer will be full of action films, and superhero films, big budget effects extravaganzas that will promise an experience never seen before.  But if any come close to what Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE does, then they may have something to brag about.  It is a difficult film, an ambitious film, and not for the casual filmgoer.  THE TREE OF LIFE, for any true film fan, must be seen on the biggest screen that can be found.  It is a celebration of life, hope, family, and a singular, transformative film experience.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 23, 2011, 10:48 p.m. CST


    by Robert79797979


  • May 23, 2011, 10:59 p.m. CST

    I disagree with the thesis

    by topaz4206

    We don't have to choose between nature and grace. We can use our gifts of intuition and compassion to draw on them both, as the situation calls for.

  • May 23, 2011, 11 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for the sequel. The Roots of Death.

    by pr0g2west

  • May 23, 2011, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Is it 3D?

    by blackwood

    I would watch it in 3D.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:07 p.m. CST

    watched Badlands for the first time the other day

    by mojination

    Fuck it's good... I'll watch Days of Heaven tomorrow night and see this soon after. Is anyone else working at the moment that is as perfect for the medium of cinema? I think not. (Tarsem Singh comes close but needs to work on his scripts)

  • I'm leaning towards nothing.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Sounds intriguing...

    by Johnno

    Though really the topics of why death and suffering etc. exist are easily comprehensible to Christians who know their stuff and understand the origin of life and the entrance of death and suffering and a cursed world following Adam and Eve's decision to cast it away through fear and mistrust in God whilst seeking to foolishly make themselves into a being independent of God, thus dooming the entirety of creation. And then everything else follows from there until Christ's deliverence and a way out into something more perpetual and beautiful. So the entire idea of all those 'whys' about death, suffering, loss of others etc. etc. is somewhat ho-hum to explore through some other artificial ideas by filmakers etc. as some 'mysterious' question. So I can no longer really take films like this so seriously or find any real meaning in them. It's like watching someone ponder a question that you already know the answers to and yet they'll never get there instead choosing to end on some vague notions that from a realistic perspective are never really practical except for a temperory comfort. I guess the film could be appreciated on many of its other merits, but I doubt I could get into it.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST

    ^ 'temporary' comfort...

    by Johnno

    All these years of using MS Word autocorrections has made my typing atrocious.

  • I remember really enjoying him in True Romance, Fight Club, Seven and many others from earlier in his career. Sometime around or before his marriage to Jolie something about his on screen presence has lost all of it's spark. I feel like even in good films like 'Basterds' his acting doesn't necessarily help the film, in fact everytime he speaks in his forced fading in and out southern drawl i cringe. IS it just me or has Brad Pitt's acting gotten worse over time? Not as bad as Robert Deniro but maybe leading down that same phoned-in career path.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:17 p.m. CST


    by rahtard

    Andew Domink is who you would be looking for. He learned from Malick and Malick was one of the first people he showed the Assassination of Jesse James to.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Not sure I can take a movie called The Tree of Life seriously

    by noiretblanc

    Sounds like a miscalculated attempt at saying "this is serious, man. You should take it seriously." If not pretentious then maudlin.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:24 p.m. CST

    meh, screw this magical Christian propaganda

    by Browncoat_Jedi

    suddenly not interested, despite liking Malick's other films.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:25 p.m. CST

    The first review I have read that mentioned the score...

    by Aaronthenia

    I can't wait to hear it myself, The Thin Red Line score is masterful.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Are there Muppets in this?

    by Simpsonian

    Like half-way through do they show up?

  • May 23, 2011, 11:30 p.m. CST

    it's 138 minutes, 2.3 hours long!

    by D o o d

    I think I'll wait for this on rental. I'm not saying Malick can't direct, but I saw Brave World at the theatre and it really bored my socks off!

  • May 23, 2011, 11:36 p.m. CST

    We shouldn't have to work with a movie the way Malick REQUIRES.

    by JuanSanchez

    He's a fucking director.

  • May 23, 2011, 11:56 p.m. CST


    by Starcrossed_Part_2

    It's just you. Well, I'm sure you're not alone, but I would guess you don't like his movie choices as much now as during the 90's. Which is fair enough, but I truly believe Brad Pitt is a great actor. Sue me!

  • May 24, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST

    When does Transformers 3 hit?


  • May 24, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST

    Silver Bullet Starring Corey Haim

    by sewer_mask

    One hell of movie!

  • May 24, 2011, 12:40 a.m. CST


    by thommcg

    Unless God is shown creating everything this won't go down well with the evangelicals. The rest will be either too bored or put off by the apparent religious smypathies.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Nice review, Nordic one...


    But watch the spoilers, friendo.

  • Sounds uncannily like Malick telling all his critics to fuck off because he's the god of cinema.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:56 a.m. CST

    It still reads as self-consciously arty/poetic.

    by justmyluck

    This coming from someone with no lack of exposure to experimental film/video makers, where next to nothing happens on screen. I'm talking: Nam June Paik, Vito Acconci, Marcel Duchamp, Dara Birnbaum, Ant Farm, Bill Viola, Carolee Schneeman, Maya Deren, William Wegman, Warhol, Michael Snow, Hans Richter...yes, I'm dropping names. These are the folks that really tested their audiences, deconstructed the medium and, with enough invested attention span, got people thinking. But the Nordlings and Malicks think and focus within Hollywood/studio parameters, so a little cosmic awe here, a little humanism there are ... whoo hooo ... it's a BRILLIANT MASTERWORK. I'll see THE TREE OF LIFE, since it's Malick and his films' cinematography is peerless, but after these reviews, I'm totally on guard for being intellectually and emotionally chumped by it. You just can't thank the maker enough for an education.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Gonna see this in a theater that serves booze

    by UltraTron

    and pizza. Gonna get high the entire time. Pure MDMA worthy?

  • May 24, 2011, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Your going to drink booze before a movie called Tree of Life?

    by Nerd Rage

    Look at the title. It's obvious you're supposed to get baked instead.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:46 a.m. CST

    Bayformers is the opposite of pretentious.

    by Nerd Rage

    It's a total mockery of the concept and source material. And it isn't done with ounce of tactfulness or insight. Just a monster truck rally with army recruitment advertisements mashed in.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Whisky means "Water of Life"

    by dixieflyer

    Seems like a good drink for this film!?

  • May 24, 2011, 1:54 a.m. CST


    by macheesmo3

    A movie is either good or it isn't. It's either boring or it isn't. It's either self indulgent drivel or it isn't. Now ,sure, their are varying degrees of goodness, boringness and self indulgence. But to say, that he can make a movie ponderous, self indulgent, disjointed and sleep inducing because he's Malick is pretty damn self important sounding.(see pretentious).... This may be great ,reiveting, awe inspiring ....etc. But it may be 90 minutes of soft creamy middle inside a 150 minute spongecake shell.... That isn't a good film regardless how you spin it. I've liked all his films I've seen except TTRL (it's depiction of poet soldiers was ridiculous and the movie had the pacing of a snail on methadone). However, we all know it will look marvelous and have a great score. So even if the narrative is meandering and the point of the movie makes no sense at least it will be worth the $$$$. Seriously though, you don't get a free pass to make a boring movie (if this is indeed boring) just because you have a history of being a bit tedious as a filmmaker!

  • May 24, 2011, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Negativity does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Summary of this review: "Lots of people aren't going to like this movie. But I liked it. I like everything. Nordling, out."

  • May 24, 2011, 4:59 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    "It is a simplification to say that he’s a simple abusive father" Nordling you wrote the above. I can forgive the double use of 'simple', what bothers me is in your final line summation of the film you say "it is a celebration of family". I guess ill have to watch the film to understand the point you're making but abusive father / celebration of family don't seem like they go hand in hand?!

  • May 24, 2011, 5:32 a.m. CST

    So it is a galactic family drama?

    by claxdog

  • May 24, 2011, 6:24 a.m. CST

    The Tree of Life: Not a movie for the Michael Bay/JJ Abrams crowd.

    by AsimovLives

  • May 24, 2011, 6:26 a.m. CST


    by AsimovLives

    I kinda admire the reviews in which they basically state "yeah i liked this movie so bite me, and if you don't agree fuck off". I do have a respect for that attitude.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Everyone go back and read halfbreedqueen's post

    by MoffatBabies

    Said it best. Pretentious is a word that is both over-used and wrongly-used these days.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:30 a.m. CST

    "Can't wait for the sequel. The Roots of Death."

    by eveelcapitalist

    The Tree Of Life 2: The Revenge in 3D! Sean Penn: I tried grace. But now it's time for *nature* to take it's course! *Cue shotgun blast*

  • May 24, 2011, 7:23 a.m. CST

    Just As Long As He Needs it To Be . . .


    "The film is as full and as long as Malick needs it to be; critics of the length remind me of AMADEUS’s Mozart asking which notes he should take out of his opera." That reminds me of your critique of Tron:Legacy. But, at least, you get the original Tron, so I suppose I can forgive it. But Kosinski requires me to watch Tron:Legacy 100 times before deciding, and I can say, after 7 times, the film gets better each time.

  • It think it fits perfectly when talking about malick.

  • May 24, 2011, 7:39 a.m. CST

    by Ray Gamma


  • May 24, 2011, 7:54 a.m. CST

    not for everyone (read: dumbasses)

    by FleshMachine

    malick is brilliant

  • May 24, 2011, 7:56 a.m. CST


    by FleshMachine

    so what would you say is a brilliant film then smart guy?

  • May 24, 2011, 7:59 a.m. CST

    i love transformers and Thin red line

    by FleshMachine

    i love star wars and 2001. i love independance day and the man who fell to earth....why would anyone assume films are mutually exclusive??

  • May 24, 2011, 7:59 a.m. CST

    This is a movie outside the mainstream of Hollywood.

    by Arafel

    This is a movie that transcends film and takes audiences on a journey into the vast inner reaches of the soul. This is a movie beyond the ability to criticize. It cannot be viewed rationally; it is a movie that can only be experienced.

  • May 24, 2011, 8:08 a.m. CST



    But do you like A Serbian Film and Baby Geniuses? That would be the mark of a truly eclectic taste.

  • It think it fits perfectly when talking about claxdog.

  • May 24, 2011, 8:24 a.m. CST

    "Many are going to hate it."

    by VicenzoV

    Never read that line in a review of a real masterpiece. Does that mean it's a polished pretentious turd like The New World?

  • Oh, and Lars Von Trier is the poster child for pretentiousness.

  • May 24, 2011, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Would have seen this, but can't stand Sean Penn

    by gumbyandpokey

    Just too much overacting in everything he's in now. And his political rantings (latest is criticizing the US for killing Bin Laden) are annoying, too.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Great review, Nordling. (Harry take note of how it's done)

    by Jeffrey

    The English language is not your enemy Big Red.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:12 a.m. CST



    He's that, too. But claxdog used "pretentious" in an effort to show off his vocabulary and cultural acumen, so I thought dilettante was an appropriate choice to capture his own pretentiousness. Either way, he's been CHOPPED and STABBED.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Many people hate 2001, Apocalypse Now and Mac & Me.


    Masterpieces all.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:15 a.m. CST

    I never heard of this Director

    by HughHoyland

    But now I want to check out his work. I think I may have heard of the Thin Red Line though. Will get that first. And I like "action" flicks just fine, including Transformers, But I can dig different styles just as easy. So this sounds like something I MIGHT be able to get into. I know one thing for sure, if it does have a muppet scene and is in real 3-D... Im there!:]

  • May 24, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Nordling, thanks to telling me how to appreciate Malick

    by SmokeFilledTavern

    I would be lost without you.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Malick Blah Blah Blah

    by Justicer7

    Great Review, Nordling. Looks the most interesting out of most flicks coming out this season - will definitely check it out. I watched The New World - well about half of it - and then I just zoned out for the rest. I didn't hate it, I liked what he was doing with all of the cinematography, - I just think you have to be really prepared for a Malick movie before you go in. I think I was in Jim Carrey-ADHD mode when I saw it. Also, don't call Harry: "Big Red". You'll only encourage him.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:39 a.m. CST

    But did Nordling like it?

    by tradeskilz

    "The film is both epic and intimate, both grandiose and personal, and challenging to the exreme." Transcendent, quiet, contemplative, journey through the very foundations of the universe. Lmao. Terrence Malik and Nordling are gay lovers. NO QUESTION.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    This movie looks gay, just like The Fountain,

    by DonkeyBalls

    So far there has not been one movie this year I have liked. Maybe I'm just getting too picky, but this one for sure sounds like a pile of gay sauce.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:57 a.m. CST

    A movie doesn't have to be long and boring to be good.

    by vorlonkosh

    You can tell by the tone and self-reflective nature of the reviews that this sounds like one to skip. Critics rave about lots of boring movies all the time. Think about all of the Oscar nominees over the years. Can you honestly say you can repeat view the majority of those? Here are a few examples of some well honored bores: The English Patient Schindler's List (once is all anyone needs) The Prince of Tides Dances with Wolves My Left Foot Born on the Fourth of July The Accidental Tourist The Color Purple The Cider House Rules Shakespeare in Love Life is Beautiful Moulin Rouge The Pianist The Aviator Capote The Kings Speech I would watch Phantom Menace before any of these again, and that's really saying something (insert snide comment here). I think Tree of Life is getting a lot of this same kind of hype and that leads me to believe it will make this list very soon.

  • May 24, 2011, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Did I just see someone saying Kubrick is overrated?

    by syn_flood

    Yup, it's an AICN talkback alright. *sigh*

  • May 24, 2011, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Transformers in pretentious...

    by pr0g2west

    Yes ofcoarse it is...but its supposed to be. Over the top, in your face action, look what I can do with special effects. So its pretentious in a good way. Bad pretentious is when a film takes itself so seriously without an ounce of humor, and tries to change the world.

  • May 24, 2011, 10:49 a.m. CST

    tl;dr The Emperor Has No Clothes

    by Cory849

    Tree of life is one of those art movies that doesn't have the self discipline to be enjoyable to a mass audience, but instead exists to flatter the demographic of taste makers who perceive themselves as having refined preferences. For this genre of movie, being tedious and frustrating to a mass audience is not a weakness. It is a prerequisite. It is important that a flatter-pic be unenjoyable to most, or there is no avenue through which its intended audience can feel superior. Most of the lessons of life communicated via a flatter-pic are trite and oft repeated observations from Introduction to Philosophy. This will not stop the targetted demographic from finding them "transcendent and penetrating".

  • May 24, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST


    by Rebeck2

    Thanks for your definitive manifesto on what we should like... I would actually agree with you on a lot of those movies - just that I didn't love them. But I do love THE COLOR PURPLE and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, so fuck you. LOL. I also love DAYS OF HEAVEN, it's one of my favorite films of all time. So fuck you again. All these people who hate Malick, here's an idea... Go to a different fucking article and post there. Okay? Don't waste your time with us, please. You're not going to suddenly convince us that the filmmaker we admire is complete shit. Got it? So go argue over whether Bane will be used correctly in the next Batman movie or who would win in a battle between Spider-Man and Superman - really really fucking important shit like that.

  • May 24, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST


    by Duck of Death

    Whenever you see someone use this word in reference to an artistic work, there's about a 90% probability that you can tune out anything else this person says and be no poorer for it. Pretty much the only time this word is used is when someone can't be arsed to make an honest attempt to engage with a work and its ideas and come up with a thoughtful response to it, positive or negative. Along with "self-indulgent," it's the crutch of incurious, insecure blowhards who, when they encounter something they can't readily comprehend, and blame the work for their own limitations. "I don't get this movie, therefore it must be bullshit." This particular brand of self-satisfied stupidity can't be combatted, merely ignored. These people can't be reasoned with because, in their own minds, they're not incurious nitwits but paragons of "common sense," whose notion of challenging art is anything that fits comfortably into their existing notions of the world. Anything that actually challenges their lazy, smug world view or asks them to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone is literally incomprehensible to these people. They're like nearsighted people who don't realize that they're nearsighted, and believe objects in the far distance are actually fuzzy. You can't tell these people, "No, that thing in the distance is actually fine, it's your eyesight that sucks." But you can't really condemn these people, either, just as you can't expect a nearsighted person without glasses to read words off of a billboard a quarter mile away. At most, you can try to get them to acknowledge that there is something there to be read, even if they can't read it. A few have the humility to acknowledge that there are things in the world that they can't see but that others can; most, unfortunately, retreat into the security of denial and insist that it's the world that's wrong, not them. I'm sure the word "pretentious" will be scattered about with abandon when Tree of Life is released. Rest assured that the word will not be uttered by anyone with any real intellectual curiosity or desire to engage with unfamiliar or challenging ideas.

  • A. A child. B. An idiot. C. A really, really huge "Star Wars" fan who has let their love for the mythology, characters and original trilogy cloud their judgment. D. All of the above.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:08 a.m. CST


    by Rebeck2

    "Tree of life is one of those art movies that doesn't have the self discipline to be enjoyable to a mass audience" - Unlike, say, SAW 4 or an Adam Sandler movie? You're an idiot.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Cheers to rebeck and duck of death. Excellent responses.

    by D Ropaela

    Oh, and I love your handle, duck of death. "Unforgiven" is probably too pretentious for some people on these boards.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST


    by Stabby

    "Mental masturbation" is an excellent description of the work of that pretentious twatwaffle, Lars Von Trier.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST


    by UltraTron

    So let me get this straight. There's a choice? You have so many entertainment options that you feel you can disregard this film before you've seen it? Interesting. I'm of a different opinion you see- I have seen EVERYTHING. Every movie. Every videogame. All of it. Since the inception entertainment. Believe me when I say that there isn't even a fraction of what there should be that's worthy of repeat attention. There isn't even a fraction of what should exist to view once in a lifetime. Most of your money is spent on war. You get some scraps thrown your way each year to hopefully distract you from your slave life enough to break the monotony. There isn't enough quality entertainment produced in the years it took to make this film to justify anything other than unbridled curiosity from you. That's your opinion now. I have given it to you. Now go forth.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by HughHoyland

    Yeah I have to agree with that to an extent. Even some of the stuff thats touted as being "Original" is refried "story" with a new wrapper. I wish more movies were made with the intention of "think outside the box" while making this.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:48 a.m. CST

    I guess it depends on your reasons behind watching films...

    by vorlonkosh

    Is it because you want to be entertained, or because you want to gain some great insight and have something to philosophize over. I am of that first group, and make no apologies for it. Film just isn't the medium I turn to when I feel like being educated. I like a film based on it's ability to entertain, and that means different things to different people. Just because someone finds a film boring or uninteresting, doesn't mean they're intellectually deficient and "just don't get it". Also, just because one's opinion differs from yours doesn't mean they're right or wrong, nor does it mean they are wasting your time. You are choosing to take the time to come to this site and read everyone's opinion. If you're looking for a place to chat where everyone agrees with you, create your own damn site and make people sign the "agrees with Rebeck2 at all times" terms and conditions. Oh, and I would rather see almost any film than endure Schindler's list once again. Not because of the story, but because of the content. It's way too disturbing for me to watch as entertainment. Feels like watching a snuff film. Once is enough for that film to be permanently burned into memory.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Double feature with M. Night's "The Happening" is in order

    by Flip63Hole

    "Tree of Life" with the trees of death.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:59 a.m. CST

    RE: "Pretentious"

    by slone13

    Kudos to you, duck of death. And Kudos again. Well said, sir.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:28 p.m. CST

    uggh my girlfriend is dying to see this.

    by philosophers

  • May 24, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    by Cory849

    The English Patient - boring. Actually not a good movie. No one watches it anymore. Schindler's List (once is all anyone needs) - an absolute masterpiece. The Prince of Tides - Your mom likes it. Dances with Wolves - "What if we paint the natives blue?" My Left Foot - Didn't see it. Born on the Fourth of July - Good movie. Nothing wrong with it. The Accidental Tourist - The scene at the beginning is the only good part. Is that tofu? No it's Andy McDowell. The Color Purple - Didn't see it. The Cider House Rules - Nothing wrong with it, but not spectacular either. Overpraised because it has a popular message for the Hollywood crowd (pro-choice). Shakespeare in Love - A fun summer popcorn movie that Harvey Weinstein politicked into an oscar win which people came to resent, thereby messing with the careers of everyone involved. I want more Joseph Fiennes in my life. Fuck Hollywood for acting like Paltrow was the stand out performance - and for the ridiculous way they dealt with her hair. Life is Beautiful - Maybe the best movie ever in the history of everything. I have a nearly unlimited ability to re-watch this. Funny as hell AND poignant? Again: THIS IS A PERFECT MOVIE. Moulin Rouge The Pianist The Aviator Capote The Kings Speech

  • If a movie is not made dumb and only for "teh fun", it's pretentious. God forbid if a movie actually have ambitions other then just to provide quick escapism. Even when it provides escapism. If anything, i think the "anti-pretentious" crowd have a much more limited vision of what is cinema then those they accuse of. If movies had never been anything more then the "just fun" type, we would still be seeing one minute shorts of trains leaving stations to this day.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Got cut off...

    by Cory849

    Moulin Rouge - Great fun. Really jumbled. The real best Luhrman move is Romeo & Juliet despite the wooden leads. The Pianist - Didn't see it. The Aviator - Didn't see it. Capote - Really good biopic of Capote. Really good performance. Is it a great *movie* though? Not especially moving. Just really good biography. The Ray Charles bio is the one that knows how to do that shit btw. Also be sure to see the other Capote movie that came out around the same time. The Kings Speech - This feels like a companion piece to The Queen. A really good BBC production that somehow ended up a worldwide hit. No complaints about it at all though. Good movie.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:38 p.m. CST

    duck of death

    by macheesmo3

    Lol, your argument hold no water/ Sure there are some people whose opinion of films is in a maner in which you described. But there are also lots and lots of people who have seen an extensive lists of films canvassing many genres, eras and filmmakers who can spot a pretentious self indulgent film when they see one. Just because something is "challenging" as you put it, doth not mean it is not a pretentious , ham fisted , preachy,muddled bore. (not saying this is as I havn't seen it ) Your opinion reeks of elitist, snobby, PRETENTIOUS garbage. " if you don't get it, it's because uoir are an unenlightened sheep who is to dumb for art films" Nope, sometimes it's just a pretentious,self undulgetn, muddling bore. ( The Thin Red Line for example, or The English Patient, or that damn Brad Pitt ,Aiden Quinn mountain movie whose name I can never remember ). BTW, entertainment and depth are not mutually exclusive. I can watch Tokyo Story and be entertained as well as enlightened, same for 2001 or most of the other masterpiece films ever made.... It's unwise to accuse those who disagree as being unwashed, akin to being nearsighted or stupid.... That's just lame

  • May 24, 2011, 12:39 p.m. CST

    So no apprecitiation for Malick = no apprecitiation for film?!

    by Bartleby T. Scrivener

    Just because a director chooses to focus on philosophical ideologies doesn't mean his work is transcendent. The notion that somehow Malick is one of the greatest directors ever is laughable.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST


    by Cory849

    pre·ten·tious/priˈtenCHəs/ Adjective: Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed. When someone calls a film pretentious, what they are really saying is something similar to what I said above. It's an Emperor Has No Clothes film which is attempting to make profound things that are really trite. It's audience feels self congratulatory for having the skillset to appreciate a film, which they fully recognise will frustrate most viewers. There are many excellent films which are not pretentious and are highbrow. Example: Amadeus. That film kicks ass on every level. Example of a pretentious film - or at least one that has pretentious fans: Eyes Wide Shut.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST


    by redkamel

    I believe it is being used because Malicks work looks unfocused, yet is supposed to be good. Thus, ehen people don't get its meaning, it is called pretentious: since it is touted as good, when it is really not understood at all by the viewer. It is supposed to be great art, but when viewed, nothing is understood. Now whether you think his work actually IS pretentious or not is a different topic, but thats why it is called that. I mean, if I went to see the Mona Lisa, for example and it was a POS, and most of the public agreed with me, then art lovers would be called pretentious. They pretend to be something they are not: lovers of great taste, when it is clear that the Mona Lisa is a POS. The Dark Knight is not pretentious: its an action movie about Batman written at the level of a good graphic novel. It is not presented as anything else or touted as anything else by anyone involved in the film. So I don't see how you get pretentious from that.... Tree of Life sounds like a boring movie to me, and I have no interest in "working in the way the Director requires" to view his movie. If this movie was anything like the review described, I am out. Sounds like 2.5 hours of character study (good) mixed in with random scenes of spirituality and searching for meaning in death.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Watching a Malick film is like attend a college lecture after a big lunch.

    by Bartleby T. Scrivener

    You're trying your hardest to keep up with it, but your eyes start getting heavy.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Mac and me is far from a masterpiece.

    by claxdog

    If that is your opinion on that movie all your other opinions mean absolutely........ shit.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:47 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    Your definition only served to disprove your intended argument. What exactly is of greater importance than the beginning of life/the universe?

  • May 24, 2011, 12:50 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    Not to sound condescending, but "pretentious" is a word that tends to be used by those who have no desire to think when they see films. I guess Bergman's work must be astoundingly pretenious then.

  • We cant change the past or what happened so it has no bearing on today.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Watched The New World Blu on a snowy day with nothing else to do.

    by Mandolorian

    And I loved it. You have to be in a very relaxed state of mind to enjoy his films. If you can get yourself there, his films are outstanding.

  • May 24, 2011, 12:53 p.m. CST

    SO in other words, I need to be high in order to enjoy Malick

    by Bartleby T. Scrivener

  • May 24, 2011, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Write a Review. Not a summary.

    by tacoplenty


  • May 24, 2011, 1:11 p.m. CST

    pretentious or not, it looks boooooring

    by philosophers

    seriously, I never liked any of his films.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:12 p.m. CST

    "It is possible to view the film empirically."

    by ragingfluff

    What exactly does that mean? As opposed to watching it theoretically?

  • May 24, 2011, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Im not saying Tree Of Life is pretentious

    by pr0g2west

    Pompous, bombastic, euphuistic, rhetorical or turgid possibly. But then again if it wasn't any of these things, then it wouldn't be considered art.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:38 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    Yes, I am aware of that. It is fiction. That is what movies (non-documentaries) are. I thought that was a given. I guess I gave your intellect too much credit in making the assumption that you would know that.

  • May 24, 2011, 1:49 p.m. CST


    by thommcg

    I guess in the sense that I am theoretically going to see Tree of Life.

  • May 24, 2011, 2 p.m. CST

    redkamel - Dark Knight pretentiousness

    by JuntMonkey

    Dark Knight has several scenes where there are monologues spoken that attempt to explain some grand meaning of Batman, or of crime, or of the world, or heroes, or chance, or luck, or whatever. It's not content to be a great superhero movie; it has to try to be "meaningful", and it does that by having characters explain why it's meaningful, which sucks. It's pretentious in that sense and is certainly more pretentious than Days of Heaven, the only Malick film I've seen recently.

  • May 24, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST


    by thommcg

    It's not the entirety of the movie though :)

  • Clueless Philistine!

  • May 24, 2011, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Could this film change everything?

    by Jaymie69

    No, but it'll take us away for afew hours!

  • May 24, 2011, 2:55 p.m. CST

    not gonna say the P-word...

    by foree forehead

    ...but i don't think malick's intention is to make challenging Art films, the type made by the long list of experimental, boundary-pushing directors nicely listed by someone earlier (warhol, et al). profundity is as subjective as one's preference in food or clothing. it's pretty clear mallick has everyday concerns at heart, even if he films them poetically and contemplatively. malick makes singularly American films, imbued with his trademarks: the languid rhythm, the voice-over, and lingering/panned shots of natural beauty. i would imagine he sees himself in the mold of someone like john ford rather than in the (perhaps more obvious) meditative styles of kubrick and tarkovsky. but how can we know for sure? how to measure how much mallick knows? how is this important?? as pointed out by others, some viewers are "entertained" by being "bored" - i don't go to a mallick film to feel smarter than others, i can't understand this criticism of his fans. that would be a pretty difficult viewing experience. can you imagine? constantly chalking up one's own intellectual insight points next to an empty column, the proprietors of which you imagine to be some other theoretical group of movie-goers who would actually not be sitting in the same movie theater, because they're too dumb to watch this type of movie anyway. hmm. no, i'll go to see a movie like Tree of Life so i can feel better about myself, about my relationship with my American son, i won't to see it so that i can feel better about not seeing Transformers 3.

  • May 24, 2011, 3 p.m. CST


    by Aquanaut

    how is this film self indulgent? what qualities in general make a film self indulgent? can you provide an objective meaning to that statement? how does the movie (which is non-anthropomorphic) "pat itself on the back"? "Some people are obliged to talk up stinkers by the studios, i'm not one of those people." Or maybe they just liked the movie.

  • Hopefully, he redeems himself in my eyes with this one.

  • I mean, this year looks worse than last year. I can't believe the shit-storm of releases this year. I just reviewed the entire 2011 calendar and it is unbelievable. I'm sure I will get dragged into the theater to see a few I'm on the fence about, but this and The Rum Diary are the only films I really want to see this year.

  • May 24, 2011, 3:30 p.m. CST


    by pr0g2west

    Everything you do does matter. Like when you throw a rock into a pond, it creates ripples that extend out to infinity. and those vibrations create more vibrations...and so on. So, if everything that has happened in the past created a vibration, those affects are still vibrating today. In other words, everything that was...still is. Infact, if you are a believer of the big bang, everything in our observable universe came from one infintesimally small point, which means that everything, including time, was all one thing. Today the universe is still expanding, but everything is still fundamentally interconnected. Anyway, we can always learn from the past...and thats the important thing.

  • May 24, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Days of Heaven on Blu-Ray

    by JuntMonkey obscene. It's such a shame that services such as Netflix streaming are likely going to cut down on the number of films released to Blu-Ray. To be clear, I like the Dark Knight (although I saw it 4 times total, 3 in IMAX, and have not bothered to see it at home yet and cannot imagine it holding up all that well). Rooting for an IMAX re-release before Dark Knight Strikes Again or whatever the hell it's called comes out.

  • May 24, 2011, 3:35 p.m. CST

    More Dinosaurs....Less Pitt and Penn

    by cookylamoo

  • May 24, 2011, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Ive seen enough "trees of life" in japanses RPG's

    by Mel

  • May 24, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Sounds very interesting

    by Teddy Artery

    I enjoy sprawling philosophical films that can manage to connect on a personal level. "2001: A Space Odyssey" remains an all-time favorite, and "There Will Be Blood" was a recent favorite.

  • May 24, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST

    It's great that filmmakers like Malick....

    by Orbots Commander

    ...have the ability and financial freedom to make flights-of-fancy and/or philosophical films. Heaven knows that we could use a bit more story telling that isn't lowest common denominator at the movies. That said, I'd like to challenge the notion that since Malick doesn't adhere to a "traditional" narrative that somehow makes him a more avant-garde or interesting filmmaker. I disagree; it just marks one as a lazy story-teller. The best works of Scorsese/Copolla/Spielberg et al adhere to modern story telling narratives as we know them, and there's nothing lesser, artistically, about them. If Malick really wanted to impress, he'd take on a conventional genre story and bring his sensibilities to that. I'd love to see what he could do with a thriller.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Maybe Malick doesn't give a shit about "genre."

    by D Ropaela

    Maybe he doesn't want to tell stories in the traditional narrative way. Maybe, like a poet, he's interested in creating a series of impressions and sensations that fuzz the lines of narrative as we've come to expect. Is that wrong? No, just as adhering to traditional narrative methods isn't wrong. Is Malick's style for everyone? No. And that's okay. But don't dismiss it as "lazy." Framing shots with the right lighting is not lazy, especially when you're trying to relay some kind of bigger idea to the audience. Not to mention that Malick usually assembles his film from more footage than he needs. To form a coherent, evocative movie out of all of that requires discipline and vision. Where is it written that film should be strictly narrative? That's like saying if you write something it has to be a narrative work first and foremost. Generations of great poets, novelists and filmmakers would like to disagree with you.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Malick may not give a shit about genre or a coherent story....

    by Orbots Commander

    ...but audiences sure do, and if you're not making movies to appeal to an audience, then what are you doing? Note, that my argument isn't defending the Bays, Ratners and Sommers' of the filmmaking world. I'm championing the yell from the back of the theater of Joe Average who steps out on a Saturday night to watch an interesting film or to escape from his life for two hours. Both Mark Twain and Stephen King wrote choice words about writers who ignore the trappings of story.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:33 p.m. CST

    I love Malick's cult status.

    by notcher

    I'm glad everyone doesn't like his films like I do. He doesn't give a fuck if you like his movies or not, and his fans don't give a fuck if others like his movies or not, we only care that we like them. So haters can fire away all they want, and when those same guys end up posting how great Pirates 2 was, I can just sit back and laugh.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Malick Style

    by brad negrotto

    All of Malick's films have narratives. Are they traditional narratives? Of course. The things is Malick uses the medium of cinema to do something that only editing together film can do. This is something a lot of early critics of film explored. Should film be like painting, theater, or literature? Malick likes exploring the medium for what it can do differently, which I applaud. After you have seen a few hundred films, some people tend to not want to see the same shit over and over again. But hey, some do want to be in the second act at the 20 minute mark, or they start to become confused or bored. Others like both.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Obviously, orbots commander, Malick has an audience.

    by D Ropaela

    It's not a huge audience, but it's wide enough to merit him making big budget movies with movie stars. The movies may not necessarily turn a profit right away, but they have staying power in the revival circuits and on the home video market. Malick makes movies for himself and for anyone that enjoys or gets something out of his films. I'm sure he'd like as many people as possible to see his films, but he's not going to compromise his vision too much (maybe outside of relying on big names in his movies; they may want to work with him, sure, but big stars equal big financing).

  • Because Brad Pitt is in it? I'm sorry, but if you don't look beyond the top-billed cast of a movie while trying to decide what to go see on Saturday night, and you end up hating that movie, you deserve what you get.

  • May 24, 2011, 5:49 p.m. CST

    "Joe Average" doesn't have to go see "The Tree of Life."

    by D Ropaela

    "Joe Average" has plenty of other movies he can see this summer. You never know, though. "Joe Average" might just like something a little different if he gives it a chance.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:31 p.m. CST

    @orbots commander & thatchicken

    by TallanDagwood

    I agree with both of your points, but would like to posit a third position: Malick is the Thomas Pynchon of filmmakers. His work is not readily accessible (vis-a-vis comprehension by those not familiar with his oeuvre - and sometimes even by those who are), and indeed; it may even be purely the artist creating for the sake of artist himself and damn the audience. Does it make the work genius, very good, or pretentious twaddle? I think the answer lies not in the end result but in the execution of the vision. Having a genius does not necessarily mean your work will translate to being good or even understandable. If the artist is just 'very good,' at executing his vision, the same holds true. If he is just pretentious, then the joke is on everyone else.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST

    "It's one big, 'People who don't like it don't get it,' smug fest."

    by Subtitles_Off

    I would think that guarantees it'll go over HUGE with the INCEPTION crowd.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Who really wants to be "Joe Average?"

    by Subtitles_Off

    Running around showing everybody his plumber's crack and yammering on and on about how much he liked THOR. I'm glad there won't be that many "Joes Average" at the Godzillaplex to see TREE OF LIFE. I'll enjoy the fresh air.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:41 p.m. CST


    by TallanDagwood

    I can assure you that I have no 'plumbers crack', as amusing or not (depending on your point of view) as that picture is. But I did quite enjoy Thor. Whether that makes me joe average, I am not certain. But I do not think liking Thor and Malick are mutually exclusive.

  • May 24, 2011, 6:49 p.m. CST

    I dig me some Pynchon, tallandagwood.

    by D Ropaela

  • May 24, 2011, 8:33 p.m. CST

    I think you missed my point, halfbreedqueen.

    by D Ropaela

    I actually agree with you. I was responding to someone who purported to stand up for "Joe Average" and his sacred Saturday nights at the movies.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I'm not bagging on Malick, just...

    by Orbots Commander

    ...offering a different proposition on cinematic storytelling, and popular fiction in general. I guess where I'm coming from is viewing *story* and character as foremost of importance in telling a tale. The Pynchon/Malick school would approach story telling with *theme* first in mind, character second, story, last.

  • May 24, 2011, 9:39 p.m. CST

    And it's nice to be able to have a spirited...

    by Orbots Commander

    ...and intelligent debate on AICN of all places. Hunh.

  • May 24, 2011, 10:33 p.m. CST

    No surprice

    by pauduro

    To see Nordling pracing Boring crap just to be one of the IT To bad he dosent have a REAL point of viwe

  • May 24, 2011, 10:51 p.m. CST

    I'll probably wait until video

    by Kraven Morehead

    If I saw this trailer without knowing who was involved (except the stars of course) I would leave it alone. His movies aren't bad but they are not strong at narrative whatsoever. You usually have a 3 hour movie that feels like 4. I agree with the Kubrick comp. These two both have some very good films but some of them are just too image driven and don't embrace enough of the aspects that make a film good. This may bring out the hate but I just don't get movies like "2001". It is my all time most overrated film. It looks nice but has no story. I understand that art can be many things but what it is can only be described as so-so.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:23 p.m. CST

    No stories?

    by brad negrotto

    2001 is the story of evolution. It is similar to The New World in that it is structured in chapters, but they both follow the three act structure. Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The Thin Red Line follow this structure almost to the "t". Take TTRL for instance. Witt is awol, Witt is at war, and SPOILER! If you seen it, I'm sure you can figure out the third act.

  • May 24, 2011, 11:31 p.m. CST

    this film is too good to be trashed in an aicn talkback

    by antonphd

  • May 25, 2011, 12:09 a.m. CST


    by pr0g2west

    The ripples lessen in height as they expand outward, but there is a bigger circumference. So mathematically the energy stays the same forever, it just changes. Also, vibrations cancel each other out, so your right they do in fact come to an end. However, the energy is states the laws of conservation of energy. Bringing us back to the butterfly effect. If a ripple was supposed to travel outward to infinity, but was cancelled by another ripple, then that leaves room for other variables to manifest...which would have otherwise been altered. This is why weather is so unpredictable, too many variables. Anyway ill shut up now, im too deep in my own brain.

  • May 25, 2011, 4:48 a.m. CST

    I'm not saying there's nothing going on

    by Kraven Morehead

    there's just not a lot going on. It all looks very nice though. Very pretty.

  • It's bloody overdue, you bastards!

  • May 25, 2011, 10:43 a.m. CST

    The problem with this movie is that

    by In Action Man Reborn Requiem

    It insists upon itself.

  • May 25, 2011, 11:59 a.m. CST

    well nice to see a few of you wankers...

    by foree forehead

    ...have just rehashed what i said up there! even bringing tarkovsky back into it halfbreedqueen ; ) palefire, nice handle. dunno if i'd go with pynchon-as-writerly-analogue for mallick, seems a bit of a carnivalesque choice in style. if you mean that pynchon does shit for its own sake and not to please anyone else, well, you could probably choose half the writers in the world out there to make that case. denis johnson? a bit too... male perhaps. don delillo might be kubrick? agree though - some nice reading on this thread.

  • May 25, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    ah, the writer.

    by foree forehead

    it's cormac mccarthy isn't it, with less blood?

  • May 25, 2011, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by shodan6672

    Your are right. "joe average", went to see a subtitled Crouching Tiger. Maybe people will actually appreciate a Malick film.

  • May 25, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Yeah, give "joe average" a break


    He voted Bush for President twice and made Sarah Palin a household name. A$$h0le! Joe Average not you shodan.

  • May 25, 2011, 2:41 p.m. CST

    The Tree of Life should be teeming with Moneky Butlers

    by Kraven Morehead

    then this movie would be fantastic.

  • May 25, 2011, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Watch it, kraven


    Your post right after halfbreed's might be misconstrued as racist.

  • May 26, 2011, 6:02 a.m. CST

    you say Philistine like it is a bad thing.

    by claxdog

  • May 26, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    LOL, claxdog, no offense to ancient Philistines, but you know what I meant:


    phil·is·tine    [fil-uh-steen, -stahyn, fi-lis-tin, -teen] Show IPA –noun 1. a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.

  • May 28, 2011, 7:39 a.m. CST

    sounds like fun

    by claxdog

  • July 15, 2011, 5 p.m. CST

    Haters sod off

    by Specktron

    I expected this to be total wank and it was, but this is also one of the most audacious, immersive, beautiful films I've seen in a long, long time. I hate to say this but if you don't get this film, and understand that it's built to be pulled to bits and STILL get you to a positive place even though you don't at face value want it to then you've missed out. Don't try and be big about this. It's a film bigger than any opinion. So there.