Song to Song

Melancholy, meandering Malick

Obsession, betrayal and possessiveness are the reigning themes when two love triangles artfully intersect against a backdrop of the Austin music scene in this 2017 ditty by cinematic auteur Terrence Malick. 

I have always admired, if not necessarily enjoyed, the writer/director’s visionary work. Films like Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Tree of Life must be engaged with, not merely watched, and that’s a good thing. I particularly liked his recent A Hidden Life.  

And I tried to like this; I really did. But I can’t remember the last time I found a movie this depressing (not recommended during isolation!). Call me old-fashioned, but I couldn’t find a story. It seems like the only direction given to Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Holly Hunter was to touch each other a lot.

Maybe I lack the intelligence or the taste to appreciate this morose, repetitive and pretentious navel-gazer. Or maybe the movie is just shallow. Don’t know. Don’t care. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. 

The most (only) interesting thing about it is the parade of cameos by real musicians, like Iggy Pop and Patti Smith, playing themselves. (129 min)

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