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SONG TO SONG, a Terrence Malick poem

song-to-song-a-terrence-malick-poem

This is not a love song, it's a love poem in the shape of movie, directed by Terrence Malick, a director who is known for his repetitive, poetic, sometimes long shots that do the trick for some folks, like boring the hell out of others. Song to Song is such a project, which, if in the right contemplative mood, you might find to be the right remedy for what ails you. Filled with handsome actors and lots of nature shots, Song to Song came out this year and received mixed reviews, as expected.

"Terrence Malick deploys his wafting, exquisitely superficial approach to a sprawling, interconnected love story set in the US music industry. And, perhaps due to the scaldingly sexy casting – Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender play three points of a love triangle – Malick’s waking dream imagery results in an atmosphere that comes into sharper focus than usual. That said, the increasingly tiresome Malickian tropes are all present and correct: disembodied voices ask big, meaningful questions; stunning women skip and spin in girlish abandon, then sob uncontrollably against a backdrop of infinity pools and palm trees. It all adds up to a beautiful nothing." (The Guardian)

"Malick is one of the most parody-ready filmmakers working right now, so idiosyncratic and unapologetically ambiguous is his cinematic style. As ever here, the camera wanders like a nervous party guest who doesn’t quite know where to stand, leering drunkenly at the characters, peaking over their shoulders or self-consciously averting its gaze. The actors’ tactile performances and actions are similarly classic Malick, with the characters orbiting each other, careening around, falling over, entwining limbs and engaging in what looks like a cross between foreplay and contemporary dance. Rooney Mara pirouettes behind a curtain. Ryan Gosling falls off his chair. Twice. Michael Fassbender runs along a beach in the style of an ape. It’s avant-garde stuff, low on dialogue, heavy on ennui-laden narration and in previous films has sometimes been hard work. And but here’s the thing: in Song to Song it works." (Independent)

song to so

Said Fassbender: "It's a lot of improvisation. You read the sides, they're very dense. For me, it's hard to learn lines quickly, so it’s about getting a feel or flavor of what is happening in the scene and then improvising it." Added Mara: "It was kind of hard to know how to prepare because everything was so vague."

Critics also are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the latest from Malick, who made his name with Badlands but then famously dropped out of view for 20 years after 1978's Days of Heaven, returning with the critically acclaimed The Thin Red Line. In a late-career rush, Malick has directed The Tree of Life, To the Wonder and Knight of Cups — all to mixed, at best, receptions.

"Ersatz local color aside, suffice to say that Song to Song is not designed to win back onetime admirers who felt Malick's To the Wonder and Knight of Cups drowned in their own navels," writes The Hollywood Reporter film critic John DeFore. "Though offering the occasional radiant moment (usually involving scenery), it is of a piece with those films, and is unlikely to fare much better at the box office. If it does, credit the draw of Ryan Gosling, whose younger fans will be wholly unprepared for what they get (and don't get) here."

He adds that "Malick's storytelling...pastes vast voice-over monologues across footage of characters frolicking their way through every piece of high-end real estate in Austin and many in the surrounding Hill Country to boot. Sequences move from location to location — returning often to the VIP areas of Austin's many outdoor music fests, but almost never watching anyone perform — and the film's relationships are nearly as transient, dissolving before the viewer is quite convinced they actually exist." (via The Hollywood Reporter)

"Malick’s distinct directorial and narrative approach has set his take on [various themes] apart from others who have attempted the same thing. At some point, someone will do a retrospective taking everything from A New World through Song to Song and explore his development of those themes across multiple works. And I look forward to reading that some day. Living through it piece by piece is a very different animal, however — much like the young lovers of Song to Song, we can only focus on a small differentiated element in front of us at the moment but are filled with the existential dread that all of those moments are basically the same. That Malick, like all of us humans, is stuck in a rut he can’t get out of because his perspective is limited to fragments." (ComingSoon)

Check out the trailer below.

Tags:   news, trailer, Terrence Malick, film news, Song to Song

Related:   Song to Song


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