Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Thursday, 09 June 2011 23:00

"The Tree of Life" Contemplates All Existence

blog.beliefnet.com blog.beliefnet.com
Written by Diane Carson
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

About this Media...

More a spectacularly beautiful visual poem than a straight-ahead narrative, writer/director Terence Malick's much anticipated The Tree of Life gently urges kindness and love while deploring greed and ego. Interrogating the nature of existence and death, love and grief, Malick detours to contemplate the origins of the Earth and the evolution of nature with a dinosaur era scene.

The thin thread of a story begins with the death of one of the three O'Brien sons in 1950s Waco, Texas. Haunting and dreamlike in almost every glorious scene, The Tree of Life focuses primarily on Jack, the oldest O'Brien son, who becomes an architect in the contemporary world's impersonal glass and concrete towers. As a boy, Jack warily watches every movement of his authoritarian father and resents his tough-minded guidance as deeply as he embraces his mother's unconditional love. Malick explicitly sets up this opposition as one between grace and nature.

 As Mr. O'Brien, Brad Pitt brings a stillness and intensity to his character, conveying a love and struggle encased in a misguided rigidity. As his wife, newcomer Jessica Chastain is lightness and loveliness, and the children have an unselfconscious appeal as well. As the adult Jack, Sean Penn's face and body posture speak volumes about his suppressed anger and alienation and his inner battle to reclaim a measure of innocence. The performances by all the actors perfectly suit Malick's design—controlled and haunting.

Press notes aptly describe The Tree of Life as "like a piece of music divided into movements, or the limbs of a towering tree, tracing the evolution of a single life." In fact, it traces the evolution of all life and glories in its awe-inspiring complexity as well as its impenetrability in a fitting combination of the scientific and the spiritual, two elements too often presented as a forced dichotomy rather than a difficult unity.

At this year's Cannes Film Festival where I first saw The Tree of Life, some critics applauded while others booed. That reaction will define reaction beyond that typical Cannes moment. Those who surrender to the overwhelming sensuous experience will love Malick's pure cinema on display, as I did. Others will struggle with the elusive and allusive elements though there's little question that Malick remains true to his muse. And for that purity and creativity, he earned and to me deserved this year's top award, the Palme d'Or. At a Landmark Theatre.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…

KDHX Recommends

December
Thursday
18

KDHX Discovery Series: Sidewalk Chalk

There are many lessons that come from age and experience. When one discovers such a thing, there's an inherent need to broadcast it to the world. This is that. With an eclectic variety of ages and experiences, Chicago based...


December
Friday
19

STL Square Dance - December

No partner needed, no experience necessary! Come out and experience the fun, brought to you by Folk School - a service of 88.1 KDHX. It's only $5 to get in, music by Three Crooked Men and the dance will be called by Wade Pearson....


December
Saturday
20

It's All About M.E. (Musical Edu-tainment)

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the 1960's to the present as DJ G Wiz presents a musical and visual mix of soul, hip hop, pop, r & b and jazz.


Online Users

7 users and 16040 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook