A serious Brad Pitt captivates as a father of three boys in 1950s Texas, but he’s one of the few good things in this confusing (if gorgeous) art film. The drama shifts jarringly from Pitt’s suburban family saga to — huh? — a history of the Earth from the Big Bang to the age of dinosaurs and up to the present. The movie’s muddled point? To explore and understand the roots of creation. But it is extremely pretentious — and at 138 minutes, it unspools as slowly as tree growth.
Naomi Watts plays real-life mom, wife and covert CIA agent Valerie Plame — whose spy career ended in 2003 when The Washington Post outed her — in this admirable, female-driven story that unfortunately collapses. Watts seems jittery and uneasy in the role and displays little chemistry with her ex-ambassador spouse (Sean Penn, in an unconvincing performance). As the two try to trace the leak’s source, the plot grows confusing and the tension wanes.