The Tree of Life (Australian release)
DTS HD MA 5.1 (the US is meant to have 7.1 another ripoff downunder)
Didn't see a review for this so thought I would give my view of a film that has certainly divided people and now having watched I almost can see why, but only 'almost' as I will explain. For those that haven't seen it this story is essentially about the life of a man Jack O'Brien (Sean Penn) who after an argument with his dad where he say's something (not revealed) about the death of his younger brother, has him reflect on his life. Man-o-man what a long winded way to go about it at the beginning though. There is a speech at the start about nature and grace of which I only sorted out later was meant to reflect his mum (grace) and dad (nature). His mum being easy going his dad a strict disciplinarian who regrets his own choices in life (that saw him become an engineer and not a muscician his first love) and wants to toughen his son for the way the world treats us. This all gets interspersed with cut scenes that show the formation of life on earth, changes in times, and a flickering flame. Jack rebels but also keeps thinking about how he needs to get back to being the Jack he wants to be. He also picks on and abuses his younger brother as he sees him as his parents favourite. His brother just looks up to him though.
This gained acclaim with the critics and many awards. The story all makes sense in the end but I personally believe it was trying to be too clever for its own good and really confuses along the way. I don't mind a movie that gets you to think but for me this took that too far and while I appreciated moments in the film as being really representative of the way we might reflect on our won lives, I think the timeline issues and the character development made this too difficult to appreciate until you had virtually finished the movie. For me this movie just didn't cut it and why I say 'almost' understand the split views is that I completely understand those that didn't like it. I got something out of it, so wouldn't say I didn't like it, but thought it was way to pretentious and left me feeling as though they set out to confuse rather than make something work. Those, the critics included, that loved this I only assume is because they want to pretend it is art and they are the same people who look at a red square painted on a black background and believe it has some meaning the rest of us can't see.
Sound: Some brilliant LFE in the cut scenes with volcanoes, forming of the land etc. Brilliant surround and dialogue. All in all very good but where was the 7.1 on the Australian release?
Picture: Superb. The colours were brilliantly done from the cut scenes and life in Waco, Texas looking a completely different pallette with subdued colour.
All in all I wouldn't recommend as a movie, though at the same time glad I have seen it. Would I watch it again? Possibly, just because as it ended and I realised what some of the earlier things meant I would probably like to see it in that context.
Edited by SDL, 02 April 2012 - 11:24 AM.