I always go to a Terrence Malick movie hoping to find once again something akin to the transcendent vision firmly grounded in the real world that I encountered when I first saw "Days of Heaven" (1978), a movie that combined gorgeous cinematography with a compelling plot. My hopes were dashed yet again with "Song to Song." The visual beauty is here, but the movie feels bloated, self-indulgent, and disconnected. Malick's technique of splicing together seemingly random footage overlaid with barely audible interior monologue has by now become formulaic, and he seems incapable, unwilling, or afraid to deliver a sustained scene in which characters actually exchange meaningful dialogue. And speaking of characters, one after another is introduced for no apparent reason, as if quantity could make up for the fact that none of them are developed, and their utter shallowness foreshortens any depths the movie might be trying to plumb. Finally, the movie went on so long that I left feeling too exasperated and exhausted to hold on to the shreds of visual beauty that it offered.
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