Ridley Scott's The Tree of Life. Bale's finest hour. Criminally underrated. One of the most inspired uses of costume and set design (production design hello?) I've seen since Cleopatra and Ben-Hur. ('Gladiator' long lost younger brother)
On a technical level, as impressive as anything else Scott has directed. However, even at 150 minutes, the story feels like a truncated summary of a myth, and the lack of a meaty setup makes the ending's emotional release feel overly portentous and unearned. Supporting actors being browned with makeup is off-putting enough to frequently break the film's spell. Could there perhaps be a more substantive director's cut?
A lot of things would need to be said about this film, about the (obviously) disjointed plot, the sometimes preposterous cast (Spud?!), the questionable dialogues, but let's face it, it's Ridley Scott, and he knows how to do this kind of thing, and I was entertained. And Joel Edgerton as Rameses was just perfect.
As expected, the scale is enormous and the design is lavish and beautiful. Some key performances were powerful, while the high-profile cameos are downright lame. Some of the effects felt rushed, but in general were quite the spectacle - the plagues, in particular. The negativity surrounding this is a bandwagon I will not hop onto. This was an ambitious throwback to classic mythological epics, and it was enjoyable.
Scott reimagines the biblical epic with modern effects but misses the mark in capturing something substantial with its fast pacing, questionable casting and lack of any religious conviction or significance. Entertaining enough but DeMille did this better not only in '56 but in '23 as well.