Title – Song to Song (2017)
Director – Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line)
Cast – Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Holly Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Bérénice Marlohe, Val Kilmer, Lykke Li, Tom Sturridge
Plot – A love triangle set in the city of Austin Texas as musicians BV (Gosling), Faye (Mara) and producer Cook (Fassbender) find their lives changing due to their new found friendships and romances.
“We thought we could just roll and tumble, live from song to song, kiss to kiss”
Review by Eddie on 10/10/2017
I will forever be thankful to Terrence Malick for his contributions to cinema.
The Texan born filmmaker’s influence and inspiration on a generation of moviemakers can’t be denied, with his wonderful early films Badlands and Days of Heaven true masterpieces of the medium, while his long wait in between films lead to the worthily praised The Thin Red Line, The New World and Tree of Life.
Since then however, Malick’s non-commitment to a working script and much room for improvisation has led to the almost forgotten about To the Wonder and Knight of Cups, films that for many took things a little too far and for anyone that found those films far too ponderous and unstructured, Song to Song is certainly not a film you should be seeking out.
If I was being completely honest, even as true Malick fan that I think myself as, the first 30 minutes of Song to Song was hard to bear.
Filled with his trademark visual style (working once more with famed DOP Emmanuel Lubezki), minimal dialogue with voiceovers largely taking its place and a group of characters we get very little backstory on initially, this tale of love and loss in the city of Austin that takes place around the music scene isn’t easy to adjust to and Song to Song doesn’t do much to win us over but against the odds I all of a sudden found myself swept up in Malick’s vision and poetic tale of what it means to truly love someone and find your place in this big bad world.
Its arguably Malick’s most purely romantic film yet and while To the Wonder and Knight of Cups had their moments, Song to Song feels like the culmination of what Malick’s been working on in those films and with this it has allowed Malick to deliver a romantic journey like none-other that’s power grows as we continue to understand more about our A-List cast.
Filmed way back in 2012, Malick has assembled quite the cast here that’s driven by Rooney Mara’s lost soul Faye and Ryan Gosling’s life loving musician BV as the two fall in love despite the interference of Michael Fassbender’s sleazy businessman Cook and his tormented wife Rhonda played by Natalie Portman.
All actors acquit themselves well to proceedings and while not every bit of improvised dialogue or character action rings true, there is certainly a merit in allowing actors to inhabit characters without the usual instruction, instead letting them find the heart and soul of their character in a non-formal way.
Song to Song is also as visually captivating as any of Malick’s recent films and while it lacks a certain grandeur to other films of his back catalogue, this seemingly personal and intimate journey through life will please any of those looking for another slice of Malick visual magic.
Final Say –
Supposedly the last film of this ilk from Malick, who is returning to more structured filmmaking with his upcoming World War 2 film Radegund, Song to Song is not a film to be enjoyed by a mass audience or for those that have never taken to Malick’s works before or in particular those that have found a dislike for his recent output but this examination of love in a life that isn’t always easy is a film that will draw you in and take you away on a cinematic journey that only Malick can deliver.
4 chainsaw wielding Iceman’s out of 5
Damn, what a cast though.
Oh mate, typical Malick! He really gets the A lister’s involved.
for real tho
Malick’s been very disappointing as of late. But for some reason, this one really clicked with me. Nice review Eddie.
Yeh I’m the same mate. It was quietly moving this one.
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