If you found the movie "beautiful" and "affecting," I don't think you can call it pretentious, which -- in addition to not meaning what you seem to think it does -- is one of those words that's become so loaded as to have no meaning at all; loved by anti-intellectuals, its only effect is to end the conversation rather than propel or enrich it. That said, the thing that I love about Malick and his films are their sincerity -- their utter lack of pretension. (I don't know that Malick has it in him to make a strictly narrative film.) The fact that 99% of commercially released films adhere to a conventional narrative structure doesn't mean that deviating from that convention is automatically "pretentious." Of course, no movie is for everyone, and people are within their rights to find Malick's work boring or "excruciating" to sit through. The trouble with this review is the author's apparent need to extol the virtues of TREE only after lowering himself to dismiss it, as if hedging his bets with his readers.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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