For our next EIFF film, I checked out Terrence Malick's music-biz drama Song to Song. Hit the jump to see how it went down...
Malick’s Song to Song is precisely what you expected it to be: that is to say, you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it – and you already likely know the answer. It felt as if I’d dropped LSD, waited a few hours, then watched a depressing porno. In a good way.
|Classic Chivo cinematography|
Thematically, Song to Song does excel. It’s an idiosyncratic study of a group of characters on the fringes of society trying to belong. It’s also, in many ways, a film about the trappings of fame and what people do to achieve it - Gosling and Mara’s characters repeatedly sacrifice themselves at the altar of celebrity to get ahead – to gain friends and money. But, interestingly enough, Malick never captures these outcomes. Instead, the increasing alienation and regret in the personal sphere becomes the focus of the attention: leading to a peculiarly singular tone.
|One of many SXSW scenes|
Returning to the comparison in the opening paragraph, the more I think about it, the more that’s an accurate summation of this directors recent output. Like physical art, both Song to Song and pornography are less about narrative, and more about the fusion of image and emotion. They both seek a pure (although at times complex) set of feelings with minimal story-telling and maximum visual beauty. The caveat, of course, is that you need to rewire your brain to deal with this paradigm shift in movie experience; in the sold-out screening I attended there were many walkouts, and multiple sighs of relief upon the rolling of the end credits.
|Sexiest bus ever...|
|Not so nice guy...|
Terrence Malick certainly isn’t for everybody, but for those who do enjoy his signature blend of wooziness, Song to Song is an excellent film. It presents an arresting barrage of beautiful images, accompanied by an impressive and hypnotic score, that invites you to float away down it’s esoteric stream of consciousness. If you let it take you away, it’s one hell of a journey.
|Song to Song gets 4 stars!|