Director Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" is one of the most discussed (and debated) films of the year. Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, the film intersects a man's attempts to reconcile his troubled childhood, mortality and his understanding of God with a visual exploration of nature, space and evolution.
Perhaps the most confused and misused character in the film was Sean Penn's Jack -- the adult man looking back on his life. The man who was, ostensibly, the films central protagonist had very little screen time – most of which was fractured and functioned as an arguably awkward "plot" driver.
Moviefone reports that, in a moment of refreshing honesty, Penn confessed that he too was befuddled by "Tree of Life."
"I didn't at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I've ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What's more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly."
Team "Tree" contends that the film is a work of profound genius the likes of which has never before graced the silver screen. To set our own reckoning with ourselves, our family and God against the scope of evolution is nothing less than raw and stunning artistry.
Team "WTF" contends that the film is self-indulgent, over-long and overly complex. Critics felt that the 45 minutes of "Koyaanisqatsi" in the middle of the narrative striped away the raw emotional power of the family drama which featured gripping performances by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. Many detractors also felt that they'd rather have been eating a burrito.
"Still trying to figure out what I'm doing there..." We are too Sean, we are too.