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The Tree of Life
Directed by Terrence Malick
USA, 2011
Cornerhouse, 10 July 2011

The Tree of Life

Malick is one of the few genuinely visionary, contemporary film-makers and this is a film of memories, moral fears and epiphanies.

In essence, it is about a man’s relationship with his father and brothers, and with the boy he once was.  The question of how he became the man he is seems to occupy him relentlessly.

There are some terrific performances in the film: Hunter McCracken, the actor who plays Jack as a boy, is outstanding; Brad Pitt is terrific; Sean Penn, though fine, could perhaps have been given more to do; he is underused.

At the root of the film is religious doubt and the Wisdom books – Qohelet and especially Job, which provides the epigraph to the film – seem to have had a great influence on Malick.  Everything you see on screen is significant and the images fairly flow one into another.  It’s a dynamic and sumptuous watch.