WCBE

Song to Song

Apr 3, 2017

Another Terence Malick memorable romance--this time it's completely modern.

Song to Song

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Grade: B

Director: Terence Malick (To the Wonder)

Screenplay: Malick

Cast: Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Rooney Mara (Carol)

Rating: R

Runtime: 2 hr 9 min

by John DeSando

“The world wants to be deceived.” Cook (Michael Fassbender)

Terence Malick’s current cast of romantics are lost in themselves, searching how they can find fulfillment, largely through troubled relationships that on the surface look ethereal. Of course, that heavenly view happens because Malick’s point of view is through his lens, which, with the help of his usual cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, is other-worldly gorgeous and impressionistic.

Although Malick has taken inspiration from trees and landscapes in many other films, here he takes pleasure in the angles of modern Austin architecture with its glass-dominated homes and their infinity pools.  All the better for the heroes Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling) to be constantly thinking of themselves as the center of the universe and those outside the glass a part of the menagerie to be neglected.

The fly in the ointment of love is producer Cook, who is after Faye and succeeding without BV knowing it. The eternal triangle seems to flourish for much of the film because Malick not only sees like a painter with just images to contend with, but he also concentrates more on the physical properties of his characters and their stories and less on the corrosive result of promiscuity.

The glue to the multiple images is the soundtrack, about as eclectic as you’ll ever hear and changing with most sequences. The songs evoke mood and meaning as well as the remembered past, reinforcing the dominance of music with cameos from the likes of Iggy Pop, Tegan and Sara, Anthony Kiedis, and Lykke.

Music and memory are the stuff of Song to Song.  Along with Malick’s incomparable images, you’ll be fully immersed in the impressions of people caught in the act of using love to give meaning to life. Just don’t expect a tour of the Austin music scene. It’s all about impressions, Baby.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com