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2011, Fox Searchlight, 139 min, USA, Dir: Terrence Malick

A young boy's troubled upbringing in the 1950s and the creation of the Earth are depicted with psychedelic reverence in Terrence Malick's visually operatic meditation on existence. Hunter McCracken stars as Jack, a Waco youth grappling with his relationship with his bristling father (a clench-jawed Brad Pitt, never better) while forming a close unit with his mother (Jessica Chastain, in a radiant performance) and younger brothers (Laramie Epler and Tye Sheridan). Powerful music by Mozart, Bach and Berlioz (to name a few) accents the consummate soundtrack, while the designs of famed special effects artist Douglas Trumbull (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY) offer a staggering and kaleidoscopic crash course on the evolution of the universe. Director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki’s lyrical cinematography is perfectly harmonious with Malick’s poetic style. With Sean Penn.

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