From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic [of course -Ed] story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years (Sean Penn) as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt).
Impressionism, as Terrence Malick understands it: Film tracking shots of characters from behind as they walk towards bright sunlight. Reverse angle. Close up of them brooding. Repeat.
Additional trivia: According to IMDB, the alternate title of Malick’s The New World in the Philippines is “Apocalypto 2.” Now that’s funny.