From my movie review in Taki's Magazine:
The movie industry cares only about money, not art. Right? Yet Terrence Malick's four-decade-long career demonstrates how much money and talent film folk will lavish on an occasional prodigy.
The exquisite middle section of the 67-year-old director's new movie, The Tree of Life, an autobiographical memoir of his adolescence in 1950s Waco, Texas, finally fulfills the hopes Hollywood has invested in Malick since his memorable 1973 debut, Badlands, featuring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as a thrill-kill couple. Malick is the Red State Coleridge, the philosopher-poet of the Oil Patch.
Read the whole thing there.
A few extra notes on The Tree of Life:
- The idea of Sean Penn playing (in the present) the son of Brad Pitt and and the gorgeous Jessica Chastain (who appear as the parents in the 1950s section of the movie) sounds implausible, but the redheaded starlet has the kind of strong facial features that could, conceivably, be responsible for Sean Penn.
- Malick's own father was variously described as an "Assyrian Christian" or "Chaldean Christian." There aren't many pictures available of the reclusive Malick, but he looks like a heavier-set version of another half-Arab with fine visual taste, Steve Jobs. [P.S., an Orthodox priest writes in to say that Assyrians don't like to be called "Arabs." He says it's very complicated, but I can see the point: they were there first, long before the Arabs arrived.]
- In the movie, Pitt's character describes himself as holder of 27 patents. Online, I can only find ten patents held by Emil A. Malick.
- You always hear about the wonders of "Director's Cut," but I'd like to see an "Editor's Cut" of quite a few movies. For example, how much more exciting would a 2-hour version of "King Kong" be than the 3-hour drag Peter Jackson released? You could lose about 45 minutes of "Tree of Life" and the overall movie would be twice as good.