by Nathan Roach
Art will always hold a systematic partnership with structure and purpose (no matter how minute or extravagant), which is a factor that Director Terrence Malick continually tends to regard as a negative stereotype in the film industry, where for the most part, it is actually a born necessity.
“Help people by lifting their hearts” remains one of the first recognisably interesting quotes of the film but instead of focusing on a positive outlook that music provides society (like this quote suggests), the film instead decides to delve in to the vaguely interpreted manipulation, grand rewards, stimulation of inflated egos, political infatuations and all-together fake nature of the music industry with included segments of real vulnerability and unexpected appearances from musical veterans including The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Iggy Pop, John Lydon and Patti Smith.
Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Val Kilmer, all exceedingly necessary actors to have on board this project in order to personify the untouchable lives of important people (rather than unknown actors who are ultimately unrecognisable and may have no grasp on the audience’s attention) but this does not explain why renowned stars Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett would then be brought in for the humble publican roles, consequently confirming that Malick has questionably and yet unquestionably fallen into the category of select directors, including Tarantino and indeed Hitchcock, that actors will simply kill to work with. The counter argument of this however, is that the plotline of the film is so weak that Malick thought the A-listers indispensable and the only niche that would pull in an audience that are not already die-hard fans of his.
As the minutes tediously flutter by, the directors pattern emerges with the story focusing less and less on the music industry plot foundation and wandering in to his usual theme of longing for completion and contentment with endless threads of content available to those in the right seat and connections. Unavoidably tedious and inescapably pretentious at times, what originally began as a story about three people, moved in to a tangent of progressively slow timelines of losing one another and finding each other in what seemed like a continuous loop but no connection forming with any character.
In conclusion, what was hoping to be an interesting attempt at a thought-provoking keyhole film into the curtained off life of rockstars and their bosses, unfortunately slips into limbo early in and becomes knotted in disjointed mutterings between monotonous performances and a very misleading film trailer that suggests the very thing it is missing for such a scenario, which is structure.
Song To Song will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Sept 25th 2017.
Dir: Terrence Malick
Prd: Sarah Green
Scr: Terrence Malick
Starring: Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Val Kilmer
Music By: Brent Brooks, Brad Engleking
Running Time: 2h 9mins