Terrence Malick’s latest film had its UK premier last night at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. “Hullo clouds, hullo sky!”
Yes, all the familiar Malick tropes are here, lingering shots of clouds, sky, sunrises, sunsets, running water; whispered dialogue, voiceovers; dramatic cuts; non-linear narrative. And in this case, it’s all great.
What a cast. Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender (who more and more appears to be able to do anything,) Ryan Gosling (a proper movie star) and Natalie Portman are the main players; Fassbender is a sleazy music manager in Austin, Texas, (which I guess would be the other main player for Malick;) he has managed and professionally betrayed Gosling’s character, a formerly successful singer/songwriter, who is/was in a relationship with Mara’s struggling musician character, who is/was being exploited by Fassbender’s character to attain the success she desires. That’s about it for plot, but it doesn’t matter too much given the rich visuals, where an actor of the calibre of Cate Blanchett has a tiny but effective part which lasts a total of about ten screen minutes (and she is as good as she always is.)
There are lots of rock star cameos; Patti Smith and Lykke Li are credited with playing “Patti Smith” and “Lykke” by dint of having fairly extensive speaking parts, everyone else is credited as “him/herself.” It seems that people are queuing up to be in a Malick film.
My favourite film of the festival so far.