Review / ‘Song to Song’ (M) ***

I KINDA regret not seeing writer/director Terrence Malick’s “To The Wonder” which, in his filmography, slots between “The Tree Of Life” (to which I gave four stars in 2011) and “Song to Song”.

Malick’s style observes the human condition with sensitive awareness, sometimes capable of confusing the viewer with the resulting complexities. So it is with “Song To Song”, an enigmatic title explained  in a subordinate thread that turns out not to be critical to the main body of the plot.

Plot? What plot? Malick tells a story in grabs that move from hither to yon, from now to before or after. It’s the first of two long movies that I saw on the same day that stars Ryan Gosling, surely one of Hollywood’s current top names. He plays aspiring musician BV, married to Faye (Rooney Mara). His friend Cook (Michael Fassbender) lusts after Faye. Cook’s wife Rhonda (Natalie Portman) might have a wandering eye. And in what’s best described as a cameo performance of a character who might have been more clearly delineated, Cate Blanchett plays Amanda.

Those are the main characters in a film that takes 128 minutes to unreel and looks beautiful in short, often annoyingly so, clips often unconnected to what characters are doing.

An eclectic soundtrack includes passages from works by real composers (Saint-Saëns – Organ Symphony), Mahler, Ravel , Debussy, Arvo Part, and a big cohort of contemporary composers.

“Song to Song” looks pretty and sounds good. The cast does well. So it’s sad that discovering what it is trying to tell us is so difficult.

At Palace Electric


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