Rated: R for some sexuality, nudity, drug use and language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 24, 2017 Released by: Broad Green Pictures
Another elusive, plot-deficient Terrence Malick protracted extravaganza (or snoozer) doesn't resonate thematically like The Tree of Life did on memory and loss in its contemplation with the backdrop of the current Austin, Texas music scene. Many may wish he would finally stick a fork in his much ballyhooed, overrated career after trying to digest this surreal swill.
Song To Song (apparently the end to a trilogy begun with To The Wonder featuring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAda ms and Javier Bardem as a priest) and stars Rooney Mara (Lion, Carol, Side Effects), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), and Michael Fassbender (Assassin's Creed) among a larger ensemble in a mystical naturalism amidst entangled relationships with voice-overs a surrogate for literary monologues. Even Malick die-hards may wonder how the late Robert Altman or native Richard Linklater may have put their imprint on this cinematic lyricism.
This very cerebral auteur has a way of looking out into the universe to make unique comparisons between well and badly arranged constellations that may well prove frustrating and obfuscating, but within all of the self-indulgence and pretentiousness and artistry still surfaces. An experimental early millennial one at a remove from his early oeuvre as Hollywood's New Wave sensation in Badlands and Days of Heaven.
Mara's unsympathetic prevaricating Faye is a wannabe musician who gets involved with Fassbender's smarmy carnal music producer Cook and Gosling's sinewy songwriter's RV, the latter two having a professional bifurcation as more characters get introduced. Like Natalie Portman's gracefully disconsolate waitress or Cate Blanchett's barefoot brooder, not to mention the erotic presence endowed by Berenice Marlohe (Severine, the 'anti-Bond heroine' from Skyfall).
Given the setting (brought to life by Emmanuel Lubezki's lensing) the medium doesn't have much to do with the "weightless or visionless sense of self" that Malick pursues in fragments (a long editing process occurred to whittle down hours of footage given the filming was completed some five years ago).
Tom Sturridge and Holly Hunter are among other notables (familial types) appearing as well as musical stalwarts like Iggy Pop and Patti Smith, but Song To Song mentioned in dialogue by Faye has a kind of semiotic transcendental that may be too inscrutable by half. Some imagery can lurk deep in the consciousness as when restless bodies are in an odd symbiotic union, even as Faye's midriff is captured. In this twilight of a creative process things are as they are with an emotional umbra on an ode to humanity's foibles and spirit.
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