Knight Of Cups review: Terrence Malick’s latest finally arrives in UK cinemas. Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett lead the cast.
The Hollywood News’ own Sacha Hall sits down to watch Terrence Malick’s latest. Our Knight Of Cups review can be found below.
It’s not often that I sit in a screening, fiddling with my watch and praying to God that the movie I’m watching will end already and put me out of misery. It’s also rare to be disappointed by anything done by visual auteur Terrence Malick but he manages to achieve both after experiencing his seventh film, Knight of Cups. So much so that even the most ardent Malick lover may be stupefied by this intellectual playground of self-indulgent excess and strings of consciousness taken far beyond their sensibilities.
Perhaps this is what Malick is philosophising; the utter pretentiousness of Hollywood self-indulgence and an existential crisis for meaning and purpose within it. The concept itself even makes me sound pretentious and self-indulgent as I write this; beyond the vacuity however, is a film that displays moments of exquisite beauty and technical workmanship.
The film centres around Rick (Christian Bale); a Hollywood screenwriter who has been living an excessive lifestyle since finding success early in his career. Distracted constantly by the whims and vacuity of Hollywood, Rick soon finds himself agonising over certain life events and his meaning and purpose within them: his troubled relationship with his brother and father and the countless relationships with women particularly, following the collapse of his marriage to Nancy (Cate Blanchett).
Deliberately paced with a floaty je ne sais quoi, Rick’s life oscillates between contemplative moments in his car, desolate locations, or empty apartments and his dalliances with beautifully youthful and somewhat semi-clothed women who twirl and flit in and out of the frame. They gaze longingly over their shoulders and revel in the freedom of playful encounters in hotel rooms and the Pacific Ocean.
With Malick’s unique sense of urgency, the ambitious editing rhythm and patterned shot lengths from three to ten seconds gives the film a disconnection to Rick’s reality. It’s exceptionally done and kudos needs to go out to A. J. Edwards, Keith Fraase, Geoffrey Richman and Mark Yoshikawa for cutting together a story from Malick’s unconventional and organic approach to filmmaking.
Although there is much to appreciate about Knight of Cups, this cup of existential emptiness is just a little too empty for me.
Knight of Cups review by Sacha Hall, November 2015.
Knight of Cups opens in UK cinemas on 6th May, 2016.