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Cannes 2011

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Cannes 2011: Tree Of Life: First Reaction

Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 11:15 by Damon Wise in Cannes 2011
Cannes 2011: Tree Of Life: First Reaction

A full blog is to follow, but in the meantime here is Damon Wise' immediate reaction to Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life.

"There were loud boos and some muted applause at the premiere of Terrence Malick's Tree Of Life, a year after it was first mooted to show here. The critical opinion was just as divided; some saw a poetic meditation on life as filtered through the prism of childhood, while others simply saw one of the great arhouse duds of all time, a sprawling mess of disgressions so convoluted it even pauses to consider the beginnings of life itself.

Personally, I thought an interesting, impressionistic and almost certainly autobiographical film was sunk by its ambition. Malick takes his elliptical style to new, almost incomprehensible levels, but the real problem is Sean Penn as Jack, a Wall Street trader (perhaps) reflecting on his fraught relationship with his father. These modern scenes, laced with surrealism and bombarded with choral music (as we are throughout), give Tree Of Life an uneven tone. Brad Pitt gets a better deal as the old man, but the narrative is drowned by detail as Jack gets a Proustian rush of remorse after a bitter argument with him that evokes his dead brother (killed, we assume, in Vietnam).

Though it looks as beautiful as all the others, it's clearly not vintage Malick, but only time will tell if this is an ahead-of-its-time masterwork or just a lavish, self-indulgent folly. Personally, I'd put money on the latter."

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1 Deviation
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 12:46
You're obviously lying Damon. You have got to be lying.


2 Heman
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 13:06
Just because it's a Terrence Mallick film, doesn't mean it's going to be any good. We have seen over the years directors with a great pedigree directing complete pieces of shit sandwich - Godfather 3 anyone? Film is starting to move away from star actors and directors. Moon and Monsters are prime examples of this. Filmmakers are not limited to the studio machine anymore

3 carnine125
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 14:18
the Guardian thinks otherwise.

4 crazymoviesdude
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 16:20
And that's the beauty of opinion carnine125, they are subjective, and as such, they differ.

5 James Sullivan
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 16:33
If people dont like it, then im hoping its a misunderstood masterpiece.

6 Kurtis93
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 16:58
:( I was hoping it was going to be critically acclaimed by everyone, not a "Mixed reaction."

7 MiaZappa
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 17:37
Oh man, I'm so disappointed! I was hoping for this to be a critically acclaimed masterpiece!

8 Dr Science
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 22:06
I just don't get the love for Malick - the only reasons Badlands was good were Sheen and the soundtrack, admittedly I've never seen Heaven'sGate, but I absolutely hated Thin Red Line - one of the few films that I wished I'd walked out of, and I've got bored of watching The New World at least 3 times now and not made it to the end. Seriously, I can't think of another film-maker who better typifies the phrase "up his own arse".

9 Teamwak
Posted on Monday May 16, 2011, 23:03
I'm afraid I'm of the Malick is meh camp too.

All his stuff always looks mighty purdy, but thats about it. Self endulgant navel gazing as per usual. Sit down Arronovsky, I wasnt talking about you this time.

The footage left me cold, and the reviews confirm it. Guess I wont be watching this then.

10 Qwerty Norris
Posted on Tuesday May 17, 2011, 08:34
Up it's own arse or not, I'm thoroughly looking forward to this.....

P.S. Dr Science - Days (COUGH) Of (COUGH) Heaven.....

11 The Hooded Man
Posted on Tuesday May 17, 2011, 12:24
Malick's hugely overrated, critics love him because he's a luvvie dahling but his films are beautifully shot but often incomprehensible and boring.

12 carnine125
Posted on Tuesday May 17, 2011, 16:29
At least his movies have a heart and soul. Yet when Cristopher Nolan makes a film everyone loves him depite the fact that their souless, unorigial pretensciouss and badly written. Ill take malick and many more over him. So bring on Tree of Life if i can like The Fountain i can probably be something to like in this.

13 Dr Science
Posted on Tuesday May 17, 2011, 23:00
@Qwerty Norris - long (cough) day in the office (cough) - duly chastised and hanging my head in shame

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