It didn't used to be this way. The promise of new Terence Malick seemed to be something that would happen once every decade, or twice if he was feeling inspired. However, the past few years has seen him form a late period creativity that has made for some interesting results. From 2011's The Tree of Life to last year's Knight of Cups, he has managed to make his meditative style grow into more contemporary settings. With is latest Song to Song, he looks to tackle the music scene. It may not look bad, but it looks like what the average later day Malick film looks like these days. Again, it's not a bad thing, but it doesn't provide much confidence either.
I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Malick. I also have the unfortunate track record of not seeing anything he did prior to 2011. However, I have seen almost everything he's done since with a vague curiosity. I appreciate what he tries to do, and I feel like he does it well enough. His floating camera and prose-like dialogue make for an interesting and unique form of cinema. While To the Wonder is probably the better of his recent work, I have to admit that Knight of Cups is both his most enjoyably goofy and his least interesting. I worry that whatever he does next will just be a retread of that.
With all of this said, I am one of those who was looking forward to Song to Song for years, back when it didn't have a name. It could just be that it has an impeccable cast with Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, and Michael Fassbender. Beyond that, I have no idea what to expect. Having seen the trailer, I know that I will see it despite the knowledge that it will be a music scene version of Knight of Cups. Maybe it will have more coherency, since music tends to translate better than banal Hollywood execs, but I don't think it will justify his recent creative peak.
Check out the trailer below:
Looks okay. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.
The one thing that I do like is that Malick is taking his antiquated style and adapting it to a modern lens. I wish that more directors who are more knowing of this moment would adopt the style for better effect, but seeing the master play around with technique is at least fun. I doubt that he'll ever make anything that is as revolutionary again as The Tree of Life, but at least he's doing unique and singular films. I want this to be good, but I am prepared for the reality that Malick doesn't get young people, and maybe that will be his critical downfall when his career is seen as a whole. For now, it's worth checking out with curiosity.