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The Tree of Life

Oh god, this is some kind of religiousey thing?

Filmed on digital? It looks like digital from like 2002, but it’s 2011? Or was it filmed over a decade? It’s got that high-ISO blown out look that plagued movies for a few years until they figured out the sensors and were able to make better cameras, but I thought happened before 2011.

But the heavy-handed colour grading is totally typical for 2011 — desaturated with lots of greens. Perhaps it was shot on film and then just… digitised a bit too much?

I remember during the run-up to the Sight & Sound 2022 poll, people were talking about how this should be a shoe-in for at least the bottom half of the list. Instead Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles became number one and everybody started talking about that instead, so I wonder whether the Malick fans are doing well.

(It’s been fun reading Twitter reactions to Dielman, by the way — at first there was a bunch of “think pieces” from er assholes that said that it winning made a mockery of Cinema and that people were gonna be put off from Film totally for ever, and then reading people going to theatres showing it now and being totally being blown away. It’s like… people will actually enjoy great stuff if they just get an opportunity and an impetus to experience it.)

Oh, I was watching a movie, not kvetching about Twitter…

Oh, this was shot in 1.85:1 but this bluray is 1.77:1. Fuckers! Why does everything have to suck? *inchoate fury at people that don’t like “black borders” on their tvs*

He really likes shoving the cameras into people’s noses, right?

Oooh the grandeur!

Somehow, everything about this movie is rubbing me the wrong way. It feels like undiluted kitch. Perhaps I should try to reset expectations, stop writing snarky comments and try to get actually pay attention..


Nice CGI.

But I’m not sure using CGI this aggressively is a smart choice, because it just leaves the viewer going “is this animation or real? now then? now?” I guess the tell-tale sign here is that when the image sucks, it’s real, because the digital camera he’s using isn’t all there, but then it’s animation, it looks better?

Why so much rubber on Brad Pitt’s poor face? And insets to make his chin and cheeks bigger… is he gonna be younger later in the movie?

Oops, I forgot I was resetting. RESET!



Oops reset.

The kid actors are great, though. And somehow seem to be right for the time period in both look and how they act; it’s very impressive.

Hm… perhaps Pitt doesn’t have any rubber prosthetics on his face? It’s just the cheek inserts and an jaw brace to make his jaw jut out like that? It looks kinda eeh.

Oh god, it just goes on and on with this picayune daddy issue stuff… Yes, we know that men suck. We know! This isn’t saying anything interesting about that, but is instead presenting this trite material as if it’s the most groundbreaking thing ever.

Is nominating a movie for a bunch of rewards and then giving it none a bigger insult than not nominating it at all? I hope so.

Those wacky Wacoans.

0.0 points!? I’ve gotta read this… Heh heh:

And for the record, a boy’s inner monologue (circa 1960) would in no way sound like Yoda (“Wrestle inside me mother and father does! Always you will!”)

That’s brilliant, but:

Incredible cinematography? Check. Beautiful soundtrack? Check. Narrative? You won’t find any such thing ’round these parts.

My problems with this movie seem to be perpendicular to this guy’s problems. I think this movie has too much narrative, really — it the movie was nothing but CGI dinosaurs, I’d be fine. (I’m exaggerating slightly.) The problem is that there’s a lot of narrative, and it’s all trite.

Ooh! A door in the desert! How deep!

OK, I guess we’re in the allegorical end section now.

Hm… hey, this is kinda good! The ending works — it’s the best part of the movie, really.

Oh, that’s snarky even beyond me…

I think there’s several scenes here that connect emotionally, and it’s mostly down to the performances of the kids. They’re really great.

But this movie mostly sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It’s like listening to the innermost, deepest thoughts of somebody that’s totally uninteresting.

The Tree of Life. Terrence Malick. 2011.

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