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Wed June 22, 2011
Walker's Three to See: <i>The Tree of Life</i>
KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week
Director Terrence Malick isn't one to rush things - The Tree of Life is only his fifth movie in over 30 years. Why he takes so long and why he's intensely reclusive are questions one needn't even argue when the final product is this extraordinary. The movie is really three movies expressionistically melded together: the story of a boy's coming of age with his younger brothers under the thumb of their authoritarian father (Brad Pitt, who's wonderful here after years of silly overacting and lightweight posturing); the modern day angst of the eldest boy, now an adult architect (Sean Penn) undergoing some kind of delayed mourning; and, in a 20-plus minute sequence of bubbling lava, exploding stars, and frolicsome dinosaurs, the origin of the world according to Malick. The Sean Penn scenes really don't work, and don't need to, as it's the central 90 minutes about Pitt's family in Waco, Texas in the 1950s that really soars. Someone asked me, "So what is it about?" I don't know but, unlike most mainstream Hollywood comic book pablum, it most certainly is about something.