- 21 Aug 17
Underwhelming effort from legendary director.
Terrence Malick returns to Austin, Texas for his latest remixed romance, Song To Song. The story sees Rooney Mara playing a – singer? Songwriter? Groupie? It’s never made clear – woman caught in a love triangle between high-powered music producer Cook (Michael Fassbender) and up-and-coming musician BV (Ryan Gosling).
Told in his trademark, non-linear timeline with fragmented voice-over musings, Malick’s beautiful and privileged characters circle each other declaring love – without ever having a conversation that reveals a reason for their mutual infatuation. The director prefers to create a visual representation of love, which is fine in theory and juvenile in execution. To Malick, love consists of endless piggyback rides and twirling through sunbeams outside of time without responsibility. His characters exist to be in love and jeopardise that love, not to be fully formed entities.
As his characters indulge in endless parties in stunning luxury homes made almost entirely of glass, the theme of fame being a modern religion is alluded to via murals of the Madonna, and ruthless analysis of the music business. However, no-one ever seems to actually work, making the references to sacrifice and a higher calling somewhat laughable. It’s unsurprising then that Song To Song comes most alive when Malick shoots during SxSW, the Austin City Limits Festival and the Fun Fun Fest, featuring real concert-goers and cameos from musicians like Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Lykke Li.