On Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" & Thomas Mallon's new novel "Watergate"

So I’ve recently reviewed Thomas Mallon’s new novel titled Watergate, due out this week, I believe, and watched Terrence Malick’s acclaimed film The Tree of Life (2011). First off, Malick’s film is gorgeous if at times a bit pretentious and melodramatic. I watched it on my home system, which is a nice HD TV with sound connected to speakers, but the whispering voiceover was irritating, though it would be much louder and more comprehensible in a movie theater. I won’t be giving anything away to note that the storyline, what little there is, concerns a trio of brothers and their parents, with a kind of style and feel similar to Malick’s outstanding Badlands (1973)—lots of close-ups of beautiful nature scenes contrasted to moody humans. Brad Pitt plays the father, and although I’m no fan of his, I’d say he does a fine job in the role, and has more personality now that he’s older, shedding some of his pretty-boy plasticity. The ending made me groan a bit, with its images of all the characters walking along, reunited in some netherworld heavenly beachscape, but overall it does make you think, which is one thing art should do. And the entire film is visually amazing, captivating, which is certainly most of its charm. It’s one of the few films that I’d say is actually “haunting.” Malick already has two new films in the works and due out some time in the future, and I’d run to see them.

Thomas Mallon’s Watergate seems an election-year tome, with its various characters—most of them based on actual people, though with some admitted fictional maneuvering—depicting the debacle that was the Watergate scandal. I’d say it’s fairly sympathetic to the conservative goons who ran the country into the ground (at that particular moment in time, as opposed to the current conservative goons doing their best to do the same thing again), especially Nixon himself, who comes across as petulant and moody, but hardly diabolical.

This entry was posted in books/film. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *