The Tree of Life
Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastian, Hunter McCracken
Directed by: Terrence Malick
This Oscar nominated flick is about the beginnings of the cosmos, gurgling volcanoes, dinosaurs, the planet, our surroundings and how we look at all of it and more. Though the movie lost out at the Academy Awards, the cinematography through visuals is unbelievably gorgeous and colorful, exuding peace and a meditative mood. Cap that with its good use of sound at the right places. Drama at its purest, the early chapters might seem elusive to the viewer, but it’s the latter half of the film that is truly engrossing. At 139 minutes, it’s a good take on life and what it offers us.
Mr. O’Brien (Brad Pitt) is a strict authoritative father raising a family in Texas in the 1950s. Jack (Hunter McCracken) and his two brothers cope with their dictatorial but loving father, a bitter man, who demands that his sons address him as ‘Sir’. Pitt excels as he tries to instill good qualities to his boys, along with his wife Mrs. Brien (Jessica Chastian), who literally listens to every word her husband says and is almost voiceless in the entire film. She is a striking contrast to her husband.
The boys have a field day when Mr. O’Brien departs the scene on a business trip. They celebrate, running around the house, banging the door and playing pranks on their mother too. But things reverse when the brothers are embroiled in destructive acts that depict criminal elements. Back home, Mr. O’Brien’s love for his kids is seen when he brings each of them a gift. In a later stage Jack is played an adult Sean Penn in a relay of past and present, appearing in the last half hour of the film to patch up the confused plotline a bit. The movie follows the family through struggles, triumphs, life and death.
The film’s loss at the Oscar’s didn’t dent its success at the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival where it won Best Picture.
— Verus Ferreira