DVD: The Tree of Life (12)
Friday 28 October 2011
"Frankly, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing there," Sean Penn grumbled about his role in Terrence Malick's remarkable, ambitious and frequently baffling film.
You can see his point – he barely gets a look in as Jack, a middle-aged architect lamenting the death of his "true" and "kind" 19-year-old brother, 20 years before. The "action", such as it is, takes place in 1950s Texas, where young Jack (Hunter McCracken) and his two brothers cope with their dictatorial but loving father (Brad Pitt), a bitter, needy man who demands that his sons address him as "Sir". Pitt is excellent as the tormented tyrant trying hard to instil "strength" in his boys.
Much has been made of the "stargate" sequence, in which Douglas Trumbull's incredible special effects show us the beginnings of the cosmos, gurgling volcanoes and even a dinosaur or two. But The Tree of Life's strength lies in its depiction of childhood, its heavenly images and its use of sound. This could be viewed as humourless, spiritual claptrap. I found it profoundly moving.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant