Those who pay to see Black Swan this weekend will be the first to catch a new trailer for Terrence Malick‘s Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight, 5.27). It’s not quite 3 pm in New York, but any impressions would be appreciated. I wish I had the option instead of being stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again.
L.A. Times guy Stephen Zeitchik got an early look and says it “runs on two tracks: Jack O’Brien’s (i.e., Sean Penn‘s) coming-of-age and subsequent crisis; and the grand, seemingly unrelated visual elements. The juxtaposition is odd” but “never jarring.”
“No dinosaurs,” Zeitchik reports. I can understand that. There’s been too much dino talk all along. I’m as guilty as the next guy. Time to tone it down.
The trailer “begins with several mystical shots of smoke and fire before diving into the birth of young Jack. We soon track a boy playing with bubbles, roughhousing with his brothers and engaging in other boyhood activities in a Mayberry-esque town circa the 1950s.” Mayberry?
“There are two ways through life,’ Jack’s mother (Jessica Chastain) says. “The way of nature and the way of grace. You’ll have to choose which one you’ll follow.” Fairly stated “But Jack’s father (a convincingly severe-looking Brad Pitt ) is a domineering sort who, over the objections of his wife, is constantly telling his son things like ‘Always be strong, always be your own man.’
“A little more than halfway into the trailer we see the first cut of a troubled grown-up Jack, which is pretty much when the trailer takes a turn into an epic, unnamed crisis. Jack is going through something tough, and while we don’t know what it is, we see him dealing with it, seemingly alone, against stark and painterly backdrops.
“Interpolated into the trailer are all kinds of this sort of visual poetry — shots of vast landscapes and religious half-light and spinning planets, along with one very weird shot of what could be a lunar (but is more likely a prehistoric) dark landscape. Earth’s basic elements are also a motif: cascading water, leaping flames, etc.
“And then there’s the trailer’s best shot: a square-on look at the bottom of a baby’s foot that signals Jack’s arrival into the world.”
The trailer “feels a little portentous — we don’t really know what crucible the grown-up Jack faces, so when his mother can be heard in a voice-over saying things like ‘without love, life flashes by” while the music crescendos, it’s a little unclear what the to-do is about. Still, a good trailer satisfies and piques in equal measure, and that’s pretty much what you’ll feel upon finishing this one: a sense of excitement about what Malick has just shown you and a sense of curiosity about what lies behind it.”