‘Song to Song’ Review: Terrence Malick’s Take on the Austin Music Scene Is Very Malick, And Not Much More — SXSW 2017

‘Song to Song’ Review: Terrence Malick’s Take on the Austin Music Scene Is Very Malick, And Not Much More — SXSW 2017
Terrence Malick is the world’s preeminent Benjamin Button filmmaker, his career defined by a few early masterpieces and a string of late-period efforts that play like increasingly unfocused versions of the earlier achievements. Mileage varies on whether that’s a bad thing, but it isn’t conjecture. His newer work reduces the elegant, layered storytelling of “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven” to simpler variations, as if they’re comprised of the beautiful residuals from those grander accomplishments.

There are reasons to delight in the autonomy of Malick’s poetic approach, particularly the way he treasures the lyricism of the natural world over narrative coherence, but that vision can only go so far. His cosmic IMAX documentary “The Voyage of Time” had a logical reason for throwing plot to the wind, but other recent efforts “Knight of Cups” and “To the Wonder” reduce the magisterial approach of “Tree of Life” to undercooked fragments.
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