‘Tree of Life’ to “change the language of movies?”

Posted by · 7:24 pm · August 19th, 2010

I can’t speak to the interest Anne Thompson’s source on “The Tree of Life” has in the film, though I imagine anyone who has seen it has a vested interest at this stage.  Regardless, what the source has to say is mouth-watering indeed:

“It’s a mystical exploration of the meaning of life, a journey in which a microcosm of a family mirrors the world; the differences between man and woman, husband and wife, are mirrored against nature and grace. It will change the language of movies. It’s a real event. People will say, ‘what the fuck is this?’”

You’ll remember yesterday Todd McCarthy publicly stated his expectation that the film will move to 2011, based on little more than the usual impatience.  In his role as New York Film Festival selection committee member, I guess he just got some bad vibes when promise after promise was made to screen it for potential inclusion in the fest, only to no avail.  But I wonder if all of this back and forth is ultimately unhealthy for the film itself.

Look, it’s obviously okay to be passionate about an upcoming film.  It happens in this space frequently.  And Terrence Malick is the kind of filmmaker who attracts a unique sort of rabid expectation from film lovers.  But it seems to me that the frothing at the mouth has reached a fever pitch we haven’t seen since…well, “Inception,” just over a month ago.

Is there any way “The Tree of Life” will be satisfactory to those scrambling for any new nugget at this point?  When the curtain finally lifts, will the anticipatory chafing be too raw for the film to soothe?  In so many words, can any filmmaker live up to this kind of hype?

What’s worse, Malick is beginning to be (if he hasn’t been in some quarters for quite a while) questioned consistently.  “Just hurry it up already,” those without an inkling of what goes into crafting a film seem to shout.  Let the guy finish the movie on his own terms.

Anyway, Thompson goes on to speculate that there are too many people with enough riding on the film for it to be delayed once more.  Make of that what you will, but personally, I’d say there’s plenty on deck to focus on otherwise.  And hey, if you’re such a Malick junkie, the Criterion Blu-ray release of “The Thin Red Line” is imminent.

→ 24 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

24 responses so far

  • 1 8-19-2010 at 7:30 pm

    Duncan Houst said...

    A day ago, I would’ve said that this film isn’t coming at all this year, and I believe I did say that. However, after “The Tourist” entered the race yesterday, I think it may just be possible. Unlikely, but possible. Right now, this film just feels like a dream, rather than a movie. What people envision in their mind when they think of the perfect movie.

  • 2 8-19-2010 at 7:42 pm

    Speaking English said...

    The exact kind of broad sweeping “meaning of life” mumbo-jumbo that tells us absolutely nothing about the movie whatsoever. Eh. We’ll see what it’s like when we actually, well, see it.

  • 3 8-19-2010 at 7:47 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Meaning of life” was uttered briefly at the beginning. I’d say there’s a little more to chew on than that, especially when weighed against what we already know.

    But there I go again. It’ll be here when it’s here.

  • 4 8-19-2010 at 7:53 pm

    Cde. said...

    “Is there any way “The Tree of Life” will be satisfactory to those scrambling for any new nugget at this point? When the curtain finally lifts, will the anticipatory chafing be too raw for the film to soothe? In so many words, can any filmmaker live up to this kind of hype?”

    You raise a good point about how hype sets up impossible-to-meet standards…but if the film is as good as The New World or The Thin Red Line, it will be worth the hype for me.

  • 5 8-19-2010 at 8:07 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Why didn’t I go to the University of Texas? Oh, that’s right, the whole thing with the pointer finger and pinkie creating the blah blah. I freakin’ hate the Longhorns, but kudos to Malick for letting students there help him out.

  • 6 8-19-2010 at 8:19 pm

    Drew said...

    This was only a minimal blip on my radar until the playlist posted there review of Malick’s script a month ago. Just the notion creating some kind of a strange hybrid of 2001 and an Arthur Miller play from the same man who brought us Badlands and Days of Heaven got me, and clearly many other cinephile freaks outrageously excited to see what Malick has been working for the last several years.

    I don’t think it is Malicks constant, almost obsessive compulsive way editing which he often does with each of his films that is holding the film back from getting released, as much it is Apparation being too young and small of a company with too much financial burden on there shoulders to take up ther task of releasing it. That being said, if this film pulled off an end of the year surprise relase date, ala Crazy Heart, it would make me all to happy for Mallick and company.

  • 7 8-19-2010 at 8:50 pm

    James D. said...

    Malick is the one director that can live up to the hype, however, so I am not worried.

  • 8 8-19-2010 at 8:51 pm

    Kiel said...

    Kris, have you read the script yet? If so, what are you thoughts on it?

  • 9 8-19-2010 at 9:07 pm

    The Z said...

    If you’ve read the script, anyway of passing it on to others?

  • 10 8-19-2010 at 9:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Haven’t read it.

  • 11 8-19-2010 at 9:55 pm

    The Dude said...

    Doesn’t matter if this comes out tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or 10 years from now…I’m seeing it opening day. Malick can take as long as he likes…for him, I’ll wait.

  • 12 8-20-2010 at 1:32 am

    Glenn said...

    Why would you judge the screenplay to a Terrence Malick movie? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all day. If someone read the screenplay of “Days of Heaven” I doubt they’d think it could lead to the movie it was. Same for all of his movies.

  • 13 8-20-2010 at 1:33 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    In other words: No Oscars.

  • 14 8-20-2010 at 2:26 am

    Andrew Rech said...

    Glenn you have a point since he’s such a visual story teller, but no need to act so snippy.

  • 15 8-20-2010 at 3:46 am

    TJK said...

    The longer Malick takes in the editing room, the more disjointed it’s gonna get.

  • 16 8-20-2010 at 4:02 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “The longer Malick takes in the editing room, the more disjointed it’s gonna get.”

    Apologies for being rude, but that’s a completely glib and baseless comment. For “The New World,” spending a little longer in the editing room — between the original 150-minute cut shown to critics in December 2005 and the 135-minute cut released the next month — improved the film immeasurably, and it would have been much better off had the latter edit been the first one seen. Malick knows his movie better than anyone.

  • 17 8-20-2010 at 6:35 am

    James D. said...

    I personally prefer the 150 minute version of the New World. More Malick is better.

  • 18 8-20-2010 at 6:37 am

    James D. said...

    By 150 minute, I mean 172 minutes. I forgot how many versions of that thing there were.

  • 19 8-20-2010 at 11:17 am

    viviana ferreira said...

    oh god…when i think in this movie, i wanna cry of emotion. I love Malick and i really wanna see this movie in this year:)

  • 20 8-20-2010 at 4:47 pm

    Paul said...

    If people will say ‘what the f is this?’, then maybe it’s going to crash and burn with the standard American moviegoer.

  • 21 8-21-2010 at 5:29 pm

    Meli said...

    I don’t really care about the standard American moviegoer. There’s plenty of hate out there for The Thin Red Line and even more for The New World. Doesn’t keep me from seeing his films multiple times in the theater and owning all of them.

  • 22 8-22-2010 at 9:44 am

    Joseph said...

    I think it will live it up. Malick (like Nolan) hasn’t failed me yet.

  • 23 8-22-2010 at 4:21 pm

    Michael said...

    The quote from the source is so vague you could transfer it to a number of other movies. For example, “Synecdoche, New York.” Which I despised.

    I’m not saying the movies will be whatsoever similar, just that the quote doesn’t necessarily get me excited.

  • 24 4-24-2011 at 7:54 am

    waaahhhhh said...

    what about Titanic?