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The Tree of Life (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
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DVD + Blu-ray + Digital
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From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN and THE THIN RED LINE, THE TREE OF LIFE is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.
An exclusive 30-minute documentary on the making of the film, Exploring The Tree of Life, allows fans to dig even deeper into Malick’s visionary work and his cinematic legacy through interviews with his collaborators and cast members as well as with directors Christopher Nolan and David Fincher who share an appreciation for his work.
Disc 2: DVD
Disc 3: Digital Copy
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Top Customer Reviews
So much of Malick's narrative sense asks you to imagine plot points - It begins with mourning a son we've never yet met who has died at nineteen. It suddenly moves to offices of a prosperous architect. You connect him to the oldest son, and eventually realize he's taken in all the lectures of his frustrated failure of a father, and reaped fortune from them. At one point he apologizes for words they had over the phone about the funeral. What were they? You must imagine--perhaps "you always loved him more than me." It's clear the hostility still boils. Also, central to the truth of the story is the way perfectly well-meaning parents can develop toxic relations with one child only because the dynamics are off. Malick is very aware of this.
Days of Heaven is the Malick film where so many of the visual ideas of the film were taking shape. The dramatic use of montage and movement and imagery - with minimum dialogue- are all some of the hallmarks of pure cinema. Here he goes as far as he can,
just sticking with emotional energy and imagery and composing a world of moments the way they would swirl in your head if you were remembering your life.
When I see so many one star reviews from angry film goers, I really sympathize. Very many intelligent film goers remain in a comfortable world where originality, poetic vision, and a type of spiritual overview of life has very little meaning or worth. It's all pretentious, boring nonsense. This movie is one which pushes you out of your comfort zone.
I, for one, am grateful that such a film exists. I am absolutely certain it will lead others toward inspired film making of the future.
But be warned. The Tree of Life does not have a linear narrative, and doesn't tell a story as much as it shows it. And the regular viewer--that is, most of us--, used to be told in images and words what we are supposed to see and feel, may find this story hard to follow.
The movie starts with a flaming light and a quotation from the Book of Job: "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation...while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
Then we are shown a woman (Jessica Chastain) as she learns in a letter the death of her son, age 19. In her grief and despair, enhanced by the absence of sound in the subsequent images, the mother questions God's design in such a seemingly cruel act.
From here, the movie proceeds in two alternating levels. One shows the creation of the universe, the gathering of dust that made the planets, the apparition of microscopic life, scenes from the time of the dinosaurs and the destruction of most life on Earth as a consequence of a meteor hitting our planet.
In another level we are shown images from the life of a contemporary middle aged man (Sean Penn): his birth in the 1950s to a loving mother (Jessica Chastain), his growing up in Texas under a strict father (Brad Pitt), his rebellion as an adolescent and his relationship with his two younger brothers. The second, the one he is closer to, will die later at 19 as we learned at the beginning of the movie.
The story unfolds in pieces and bits, the way our memory works: some scenes from our past are vividly clear while others are lost. The overall picture that unfolds is both that of a unique human being and an universal story.
If the movie sounds dreadfully boring, it's my fault. The Tree of Life maybe slow but it's never boring.
So, in conclusion, if you want an adrenaline rush, a fast moving thriller or a light comedy, don't watch The Tree of Life. But if you want to take a break from a too stressful life and step in a world made out of memories and dreams. If you are ready to be moved and awed and inspired, then this movie is perfect for you.
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