Terrence Malick's recent films have seen the filmmaker evolve further and further away from traditional storytelling, with his latest effort, Song to Song, being an atmospheric and introspective mood piece about what it means to be free. Set against the Austin, Texas, music scene, Song to Song is the story of struggling songwriters Faye and BV, who enter into a chaotic whirlwind of a relationship, eventually finding themselves ensnared by their own dreams and desires, as well as the malevolent force of the film, music producer and rock mogul Cook, whose enrichment in life comes from power and control. While Terrence Malick's last feature, Knight of Cups was one note and a bit simplistic thematically, Song to Song is a much richer experience, detailing the inter-tangled relationships of four characters, each explored on deep, dare I say, spiritual level. Showing little concern for linear storytelling or time itself, what Terrence Malick has created with Song to Song is an immersive experience about individuals trying desperately to find themselves in life, stumbling and falling as they seek enrichment and peace of mind. Through a rock 'n' roll landscape full of seduction, betrayal, promises, and shattered dreams, Song to Song is a beautiful, unconventional love story, one that perfectly encaptures the uncertainty most individuals feel in life, this feeling of drifting, stuck up in something so much larger than oneself, unsure what to take and what to leave behind. Malick's film doesn't pretend to know the answers, and that's what makes it profound, as Song To Song focuses on capturing the vast array of emotions its characters go through, some bad, some good, all a part of what makes life worth living. Malick's film personifies the essence of love very well by the time its credits roll, detailing how lust, sex, and desire are essentially subversions of what true love is, what BV and Faye enviably seek, with seductions and personal desires being almost dare I say, a distraction from the meaningfulness of true connection and a shared sense of love. Music mogul Cook, whose pride and obsession with power is the malevolent force of the film, a man who shows little sympathy towards anyone or anyone around him, craving more power and control, while selfishly using nearly anyone or anything around him to elevate himself. He has no concept of what love is, only seduction, which eventually leads him to his own sense of emotional ruin. Faye and BV are characters motivated by their own desire to rebel, and be something different than what society wants them to be, yet while doing so they miss the special relationship they share right in front of them. In this sense, Song to Song is a commentary on youth and rebellion, deconstructing the unfair reality of life that sees young individuals, so inexperienced with the world itself and their own true desires, that they head down misguided paths. How can the young be so assured in what they want out of life when they have just started to live on their own and experience the world for themselves? A question that Terrence Malick's Song-to-Song explores in melancholic detail throughout this opus of image and sound. While Malick's overuse of internal dialogue does begin to wear itself thin, coming off as lazy at times when it comes to character exposition, Malick's latest effort, Song To Song, is a beautiful deconstruction of love and life, a film which is honest about the uncertainties, insecurities, and general ups and downs of life, with the filmmaking creating another beautifully-rendered introspective film that shouldn't be missed.
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