As profound as it is shallow, Terence Mallick’s latest voyage into vagueness, ‘Song To Song’ wears out its welcome all too quickly. Looking like tourists lost in their own film, Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender all lounge around the Austin, Texas music scene in search of life’s meaning.
Unfortunately reliant upon Mallick’s trademark existential inner monologues for their dramatic glue, their characters’ credibility comes unstuck fast. Playing like an extended show-reel for their acting abilities, each gets a turn at charming, crying and seducing Mallick’s floating camera, but never really serving themselves or a coherent story-line.
...their two hours of gazing at the sky, the floor and each other starts to pull on your soul.
Having been clearly led into incongruous locations and asked to improvise, their two hours of gazing at the sky, the floor and each other starts to pull on your soul. They can do better. Mallick can do better. The promise shown in “A Thin Red Line” seems a distant memory now, and what once seemed innovative seems lazy.
Like Michael Fassbender’s character, ‘Song To Song’ wants to be cool. It wants to be important. It wants to be where the informed point of view is being made, but as a film it steadfastly avoids even making eye contact with any kind of point (or any characters sporting a spine).
You see, the problem with Mallick’s movies are that his characters always end up blurring into each one another. By being so reliant on inner monologues for its storytelling, everyone just ends up sounding the same – resulting in them sounding like Mallick himself – with all of their individuality spent.
So, in the end ‘Song To Song’, as beautiful as it looks, disappoints. Neither its characters nor lifestyle are credible, relatable, or for that matter, desirable. Instead you have a sumptuous TV advert masquerading as a two hour movie, where the only thing missing is a product shot and an end catchphrase to go with it. I have one: Avoid.0