One Tree, Two Familial Roots
Split between two different time periods, Spanish familial drama The Tree Of Blood is an artistic, stylishly presented film let down by an overlong run time and an exhaustingly slow pace. Despite a good narrative helped along with a thematically strong core, the film fails to really deliver much excitement for long stretches of its run time.
At the core of this story stands a large tree overlooked by rolling hills and gorgeous farmland. This really anchors the story to a common theme as Marc and Rebecca visit this old hang-out spot years after Rebecca’s grandmother has passed away. It’s here where they reminisce on events gone by while writing down every memory they have in painstaking detail. From this point onward, the story cuts back and forth to show both characters’ respective familial pasts and events that transpired, eventually drawing them together. This all builds layers of drama as both characters divulge secrets and painful memories before the climactic finale.
In a bid to make things more interesting, The Tree Of Blood adds an extra layer of subtext through its various sex scenes. Without being too explicit, the idea of planting a seed and watching it grow is not just shown through the tree sprouting and growing through the film, but also through pregnancy and raising children. It’s a really clever idea too and something that justifies the inclusion of the numerous sex and nudity scenes that crop up through the film’s run time.
The cast do well in their roles too and across both time periods there’s just enough here to keep you watching through to the end. The first half of the film does take a while to get going though but if you can persevere through, you’ll be rewarded with some eye-opening revelations and a spike in dramatic tension.
Thankfully, The Tree Of Blood’s artistic cinematography and solid camera work should be enough to see you through until that point. If you aren’t interested in the visuals and simply want a dramatic, fast paced story, The Tree Of Blood may not be for you. Beyond its artistic connotations, there just isn’t enough here to justify the 2 hour run time. The plot is slow-paced and at times, Tree Of Blood does feel a little bloated. The second half does pick things up nicely though and if you can stick it out, The Tree Of Blood rewards your perseverance with a well written, enjoyable drama.
Verdict - 6.5/10