The Tree of Life ★★★★

A sequel to 2001?
Any film that follows a woman asking the sky "why" then follows with a 20 minute documentary on the origins of the planet through to evolution of higher species then cuts back to affluent humans living out their tragedian and asymmetric utopias is a cut above the rest. Perhaps overly ambitious but masterfully executed, addresses religiosity, inequality and underlying Machiavellian mandates and explores human characters with subtlety and sensitivity. Closeups, shaky-cam and a meandering soundtrack might be seen as pretentious or misguided in a lesser director. A vivid cartography of the human condition, primarily through Penn's everyman. Could be dubbed over with David Attenborough's voice and repackaged for Martian audiences.

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