The idea that Terrence Malick, the media-shy director of wheat fields and whispery voice-overs, would make a movie about indie-rock hipsters sounds like a joke—and an old one at that, since Malick started filming his Austin-set music-scene movie Song To Song way back in 2011. After a lengthy post-production (even by Malick’s dawdling standards), the film is finally ready for theaters. And you know what? This thing looks pretty good, even if it does sound like a perfect storm of self-indulgence.
Admittedly, we here at The A.V. Club have a higher-than-average tolerance for Malick’s latter-day formula of following famous pretty people around with the widest angle lenses possible while they touch things and avoid eye contact with each other. Set to Del Shannon’s classic “Runaway,” the trailer for his latest doesn’t offer much in the way of plot. (Nor will the film, probably.)
But it does have Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, and Michael Fassbender looking happier than anyone has looked in any of the increasingly prolific writer-director’s recent movies, and Val Kilmer being dragged off the stage of a Black Lips concert. That Steadicam shit with the fireworks and the wind running through people’s hair? It still works like a charm.
Song To Song will premiere as the opening film at SXSW (of course) before opening in limited release on March 17.