I would guess I didn’t get as much out of writer/director Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life as some folks. Maybe I wasn’t patient enough. (“This film’s rewards are many, for those with the patience to simply let it float.” Moira McDonald “Seattle Times”) Or maybe I was unwilling to simply let it float. Whatever (a suitably opaque response to what – for me – was an opaque film.)
I mean, I became engaged with some of Mr. Malick’s films – Badlands and The Thin Red Line, for example – but recent efforts like To the Wonder and Knight of Cups have seemed a tad … wispy … to my singularly practiced eye.
Now comes Song to Song. The film was shot at Austin’s “South by Southwest” and, I must confess, was curious to see what Mr. Malick would do with the famed festival as his backdrop.
My guess would be that Mr. Malick is attempting to find a new visual language with which to tell stories on film. Call me old school but I prefer films or movies (there is a difference, in my mind) with crunchy dialogue and a plot and/or characters with whom I can become involved in my imagination. The A-list cast seems to understand what the famed filmmaker is trying to accomplish but, for my money, they seem to be lost in the ether. Only the great Patti Smith (in what amounts to a cameo) rings true.
Someone named J.R. Jones, writing in something called “The Chicago Reader” says it best for me, anyway, when he writes that the film “looks like a photo essay out of Architectural Digest … with its gorgeous, murmuring stars as if they were statuary.”)
I guess I wasn’t patient enough.