There's never been much doubt that Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is going to be distinctive, wildly different from any other movie out there, and maybe even a bit disorienting, with its coming-of-age story that somehow expands to include prehistoric life on earth (if early murmurs are correct).
And now Fox Searchlight has reinforced that notion with an enigmatic, haunting new website called Two Ways Through Life. Forget about finding anything so mundane as a plot synopsis or cast and crew bios or even a trailer – instead, the site is divided into two halves called "The Mother's Way" and "The Father's Way," which together offer 20 different film clips, none more than a few seconds in length.
So you won't be able to tell how good Sean Penn and Brad Pitt are in the movie, or how dinosaurs figure into the story – but you can catch little glimpses of an asteroid hitting the earth, a kid eyeing a jack that holds up a car while a man works underneath, Pitt limping through the woods, and other tantalizing hints that suggest the movie will be gorgeously shot (by Emmanuel Lubezki) and wholly unconventional.
The brief captions are suitably vague and impressionistic: "Molecular clouds gather to form galaxies." "Until now his eyes have been shielded from the sight of evil, suffering and death." "They do not endure by maintaining their rigidity."
"What if?" is one of the captions, too, suggesting an alternative question: what if this movie really does turn out to be as cool as it looks?