Jack (played by Hunter McCracken) is the eldest of three boys growing up in Texas in the 1950’s. His is a traumatic and difficult life – his father (by Brad Pitt) is deeply religious, distant and cruel, and although his mother (by Jessica Chastain) is loving and sensitive, she is constrained in demonstrating her love for her boys by the strict, pious life her husband insists the family leads. We mostly observe the boys’ life through the eyes of childhood Jack. We also meet Jack as an adult (by Sean Penn) who is deeply scarred by his life experiences and struggles to keep a grasp on reality.
When a movie boasts the Hollywood royalty of Brad Pitt and Sean Penn in its cast, it’s natural that the audience would have an expectation that it has much to offer. This movie does offer a lot … but I am sure its offerings will be interpreted differently by every viewer. For me, the movie demonstrates Malick’s impression of a person in adulthood still going through deep trauma, conflicting emotions and mental illness due to their experiences decades before. It presents endless images with little dialogue or structure and the viewer must interpret as they go. It is beautifully crafted – the vision is stunning and the score complements this marvellously. However, where it does appear, the dialogue is difficult and sometimes inaudible. I am not really sure what I watched – so this ambitious movie is sure to polarize the audience.
Made in 2011. Directed by Terrence Malick