Yesterday brought the unveiling of one of the most anticipated films at Cannes Film Festival, The Tree of Life from famed filmmaker Terrence Malick. I'd been excited for the film for months, because I had a bunch of people talking to me about how brilliant a director Terrence Malick is. This is where I come to my weakest moment as a film critic, because I just took everyone's word on it. I hadn't seen a single Terrence Malick film in my entire life, and I just let people say that he's brilliant without thinking otherwise. As such, my excitement for The Tree of Life lasted just until a few days ago. I decided to actually take a look at one of Terrence Malick's more famed films, The Thin Red Line.
I was sitting there watching it, trying to find what people so adored about Malick's work, but I simply could not get into it. There was something so prosaic and self-destined about Malick's work that just turned me off. It's beautiful and all, but shouldn't there be something more? I went back to the trailer for The Tree of Life, and the pondering intellectual monologues on life seemed so much more prevalent than the visuals. I find myself asking now, what am I excited for? What is there behind this work that draws me to it beyond visuals and Brad Pitt? I then answered my own question rather simply by saying, "nothing."
I feel like now I'm going to incur the wrath of an armada of cinephiles who believe me insane for saying such, but despite the somewhat positive reaction to The Tree of Life, I doubt that it will find a place on my end of the year list, even amongst the honorable mentions. I had considered a trip to New York City so that I could see it sooner rather than later, but I'm a lot more patient now. I can wait the entire Summer to see it, and I'll still be okay. Am I saying that it looks like complete utter nonsense? Of course not, because there is something solid and agreeable there. Do I feel like my life will be changed by what I see? No.