Song To Song

GoMovieReviews Rating:
MSong To Song

Directed and Written by: Terrence Malick

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezk

Produced by: Sarah Green, Nicolas Gonda, Ken Kao

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Lykke Li, Val Kilmer.

Song To Song is a series of moments captured up close and pieced together to create a love story.

There’s minimal dialogue with the thread woven by the voice-overs of the main characters: BV (Ryan Gosling), Cook (Michael Fassbender), Faye (Rooney Mara) and Rhonda (Natalie Portman).

I had to find my way out of you, to life.

It wasn’t an easy film to watch as the many moments are made through different shots, angles and movement, switching perspectives to show light casting shadows, to leaves swirling in water; the affection of lovers through hands intertwined, socked feet being bitten, a smile or thoughts voiced-over a stare.

I tried to be kind.   It only made me colder.

Director and writer Terrence Malick has reached for the stars with this film.  Creating something aesthetically beautiful but also self-conscious.

The poetic narration of the characters worked well with imagery but the dialogue spoken felt fake and forced.Song To Song

It was like the camera was left to roll, then all the good bits taken and edited into a story that was decided later.

By making a film this way, there’s natural moments of wonder and laughter but it also felt like the actors were self-aware.

Ryan Gosling shone as BV – the warmth of this nature and ready grin making me almost jealous of Rooney Mara as Faye.  I really didn’t like her character at the beginning of the film – that coy, little girl act, grating.

But as the film progressed, I was immersed into the story gaining a better understanding of the character, Faye.

The film’s loosely based on BV making a record deal with the super successful and rich party-boy, Cook.Song To Song

They travel around (with Faye in toe, of course) to places like Mexico and many other different houses and spaces including music festivals.

There’s cameo appearances from the likes of Anthony Keidis, Iggy Pop and Pattie Smith as themselves.  Yet, BV, Cook and Faye kept in character (somewhat), trying to keep that loose storyline – the narrative sacrificed to include some cool footage into the film.

I’m all for the aesthetics but it made some parts of the film unnecessary as the fluidity of the story was lost to include the beautiful and poetic.

Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman make an appearance on the fringes of the film, the story losing itself amongst other people, only to find itself again with BV and Faye, making the journey moving, annoying, boring and sometimes completely absorbing.

It’s a different kind of movie.  I think the film has taken itself too seriously and yet, not seriously enough.

Malick has created a film like an art installation.  Like Andy Warhol filming actresses while interviewing them as they did whatever they wanted as long as it was interesting.  There’s the same feel here.  But revolving around the theme of sex and love – some parts worked, some didn’t.

I appreciated the reach and push made of this stellar cast.  I just wish it didn’t feel so pretentious.

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The Nice Guys

GoMovieReviews Rating:
Director: Shane BlackThe Nice Guys

Writers: Shane Black; Anthony Bagarozzi

Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya Dalosta, Keith David, Lois Smith; Kim Basinger.

Harking back to the funky-soul disco era of the 1970s, The Nice Guys is a private detective, who-done-it comedy, with a bit of action on the side.

The scene is set when Misty Mountains (yes, her name referring to her boobs) comes to a dramatic end – assets revealed in life but covered in death, because hey, she’s human and this is a classy film.

Now, Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley) is being followed.  She hires Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), muscle who is paid to deter those, well, who need deterring.  His line of enquiry leading to Holland March (Ryan Gosling), a private detective also on the case.

Delving into the world of ’70s pornography, dirty deeds are uncovered circling closer and closer to those targeting Amelia.

A classic storyline, yet, it’s the characters Healy, March and March’s daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice) who are the focus of the film.  And the success of the film comes from the perfect casting of Gosling alongside Crowe.

It’s a pleasure to see Gosling playing a light-hearted character after all his seriousness in the past (Half Nelson (2006), The Ides of March (2011), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) and more recently, The Big Short (2015)).  Gosling’s character, March, is a funny bastard.  Either he’s a natural comic or director Shane Black deserves a tremendous amount of credit as March was the highlight of the film for me.

Russell playing, Healy: as always the steadfast meat-head with a heart of gold.

The two characters had a great chemistry, like the small dog yapping at the big.  I wondered if there was a genuine annoyance from Russell Crowe regarding Gosling.  But with a clever script, there were many moments for laughter.

Add the background scenery of horses get-up as unicorns, protesters playing dead in gas masks and some well-placed action (I was about to get bored near the end until the action kicked in); you’ve got an entertaining film.  I’m still grinning about March falling, yet again, and somehow surviving.

But, honestly, there wasn’t a lot of depth here.

There were definite moments of wit and cleverness but the story barely held together at the end.  The action got ramped up so I forgave the fading narrative.  It depends on what mood you’re in.

If you’re looking for a, who-done-it with wit and action, this is a great film.

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