After what amounts to about two years of waiting or more, cinephiles are drooling in anticipation at finally receiving their first look at Terrence Malick’s long-gestating drama, “The Tree Of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn and they’re getting it this Friday when the Fox Searchlight picture’s trailer debuts before Darren Aronofsky‘s psycho-horror ballet, “Black Swan” (it’s called corporate synergy). However, we’re getting a small taste now. The L.A. Times has been given a peek at the trailer in advance and they say the footage, “exceed expectations.”
Full blown images below and more commentary from the LAT.
The piece begins with several mystical shots of smoke and fire before diving into the birth of young Jack O’Brien. “He’ll be grown before that tree is tall,” his mother, Jessica Chastain’s Mrs. O’Brien, says. And indeed, 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.
Mrs. O’Brien has a binary view of the world. “There are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace,” she tells her boy. “You’ll have to choose which one you’ll follow.” 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.” (In an interior monologue Jack can be heard volleying back and forth, “Father, Mother, always you wrestle inside me.”)
A little more than halfway into the trailer we see the first cut of a troubled grown-up Jack (Sean Penn), 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 (reminiscent in several instances of what Julian Schnabel did with “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”).
We won’t post all of it, you can read more there yourself if you like. “The Tree Of Life” hits theaters May 27, 2011 and that means you can pretty much guarantee it’ll play at Cannes the week before (Cannes 2011 runs May 11-22). Also trailer in theaters on Friday means trailer online on Friday, right? Maybe, not so much– Fox Searchlight hasn’t confirmed yet and it’s looking right now that it might be theaters only which means those of us who have already seen the terrific “Black Swan” (this writer) will have to shell out another $44.50 (or whatever a single godforsaken ticket costs these days) to get a sneak peek at Malick’s new pic.