TREE OF LIFE being compared to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; still at 3 hours in length?

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
September 3rd, 2010

I’m starting to get sick of writing stories about this film, knowing that we may very well not get a chance to see it until next year, if even that.

However, with comparisons to classic films of years past, and a runtime that is shockingly longer than expected, I can’t help but get even more excited.

According to a commenter at HomeTheater web forum (via The Playlist) recently took in a screening of Terrence Malick’s upcoming film, TREE OF LIFE, and along with comparing it to films like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the writer mentions that it does clock in at right around 3 hours (as opposed to rumors saying the film was getting a shorter cut), and that it is in fact complete.  Here’s a bit more of the “review”:

Saw TREE OF LIFE the other night at work and it really is amazing. Hypnotic, more like. I won't give anything about it away here, but yes it is long and there has already been talk in the news about Malick releasing it, then re-cutting it, then re-releasing it, etc.

The main bulk of the film is about his childhood growing up in Texas (reels 3-7 out of 9!). The "creation" footage is outstanding, absolutely jawdropping, and does indeed feel like 2001 - a lot of the effects are practical and your eyes can see that, which makes it really fascinating to watch. I don't have a problem with the creation footage being connected to his boyhood, after all, most boys love dinosaurs, so that's how I looked at it.

The story is framed around the death of his middle brother (in Korea?? We never know) and is a reflection on the circle of life, the evolution of life out of the mess of the Big Bang, but also about life itself (the strained relationship with his severe father, a stunning performance by Brad Pitt, just stunning), and the end of the Universe. I still haven't given anything away that hasn't already been said in the press. The film just has to be seen to be believed! One feels like a child again, seeing the world through young wide eyes.

Yes, it is finished! I believe it releases in October but it may be a limited release. And yes again it's about 3 hours! There is talk of a cut down version, which Malick did for New World as well, but nothing confirmed.

Personally, I wouldn’t doubt it if they decided to trim the film down a bit, but the idea of an October release fits in perfectly with the September start date for Malick’s next film, starring Ben Affleck.  The Telluride Film Festival’s Twitter account has mentioned that Brad Pitt, star of the hotly anticipated film, is indeed in town for the fest, and with nothing else seemingly coming out of his camp, all signs point to a possible screening of the film at the Colorado film festival.  This is definitely a story to keep an eye on.

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