Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Song to Song (2017)

When cooking a steak, be sure to awkwardly stare at it until it heats itself.

Malick's ongoing scriptless Shoot the Rodeo projects continue their study of the Human Osprey, squandering the goodwill of performers and viewers alike and generally sucking valuable oxygen away from the working class. A movie about musicians and producers who fuck each other has never contained so little music or fucking. It's amazing that his steadicams and fish-eye lenses haven't been confiscated by a government or an angry mob.

The film, in comparison to his recent works, is at least telling a story this time. The four featured characters have discernible arcs -- relationships start and end, mistakes lead to revelations, somebody dies tragically... all could be universally relatable experiences if they weren't set between the 200 vacations they go on over the course of, seemingly, one year. When the film doesn't twitch with faint signs of life or when Malick splices in footage from Voyage of Time to wake you up, you can derive some suspense from reimagining it all as a PSA on sexually transmitted diseases, because nobody-but-nobody wants Cate Blanchett to get herpes.

You know the pattern by now and you can imagine the entire film, start to finish, without seeing a single frame of it. In addition to the minor positives above, I'll say that Malick also included the line from one of his Osprey surrogates, "I could go on for hours with one chord..." as perhaps the ultimate proof of self-awareness. Remember when this guy only made films every 20 years? Those were the fucking goddamn days.

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