Knight of Cups

Film Review by Patrick Gamble | 03 May 2016
Film title: Knight of Cups
Director: Terrence Malick
Starring: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Freida Pinto, Imogen Poots
Release date: 6 May
Certificate: 15

Terrence Malick is back with Knight of Cups, starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman. The film's as beautiful as you'd expect, but plot and meaning are elusive

“You don't want love, you want a love experience,” proclaims Delia (Potts) while talking to Rick (Bale), the tormented screenwriter at the centre of Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. It’s as if she’s addressing the audience directly, yet those familiar with Malick’s distinct blend of poetic visuals and philosophical ideas have come to expect nothing less than euphoria.

With Knight of Cups, Malick completes a triptych (which includes The Tree of Life and To the Wonder) of personal studies into the purpose of existence, the majesty of nature and the shortcomings of man. Part auteur-confessional, part industry critique, we follow Rick as he navigates, almost comatose, through a succession of Hollywood parties, strip clubs and minimalist apartments in an apathetic assault on apathy.

The film’s title refers to a tarot card and each scene is presented like a pictogram for the viewer to assign their own meaning. Occasionally this leads to profound moments of personal enlightenment, yet more often than not Malick’s pursuit of beauty feels like self-parody, culminating in a frustrating experience where meaning is as elusive as plot.

Released by StudioCanal