Another great film with Brad Pitt in it? I guess he is becoming a good actor. A definite winner at Cannes this year, Terence Malilck’s piece is indeed a great film. The film starts in a strange sequence, then it goes into aspects of evolution, biology, a sort of cosmic vision, non-narrative spectacle, scenes with prehistoric reptiles, deserts, galaxies and spiral DNA shapes, complete excess challenging notions of realism, a meditation on memory, time, and the look at love and loss.
The character Jack played by Sean Penn, an architect, is taken back to his 1950s childhood in a small town in Texas. He remembers his relationship with his overwhelming, demanding, disciplinarian father, played by Brad Pitt, His loving mother, the father’s opposite, his two brothers and the one brother who died at the age of 19, presumably for being part of the military.
As a young boy Jack has to face his father, a God-fearing family man, he is angry with him and his brothers; he respects the severity of traditional religious beliefs, but aspires to riches and worldliness, negotiating with patents and spending the family's means.
He is very tough, for example, he challenges his boys to hit him, to toughen them up, to become men. He is a frustrated musician; his frustration and rage simmer from every pore. His boys feel fear as well as love him. They seem to have fused both into the same complex emotion.
Jack realizes that time, far from healing the wounds of loss, only makes them more painful. The dream-like scenes from his childhood, in a sense, the purpose of these gigantic visions is to obliterate the pain of living and not comprehending their purpose.
Lot of people has made the comment that they found the film boring. This film is not for everyone. The final sequence could be interpreted as “religious” in Western Metaphysical way, suggesting closure and redemption. The film asks several questions about the reason for redemption, healing, survival and existence. A must see.