Knight Of Cups

**

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Knight Of Cups
"Malick and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, if nothing else, deliver stunningly beautiful vistas and backdrops for his narratives and characters, yet like the characters, there seems to be something empty at its core."

Terrence Malick can be relied on to produce oddities - and none more so than his latest opus, which offers a take on man’s place in the universe and the banalities of the modern world.

It opens with an audio excerpt from The Pilgrim’s Progress, recited by the unmistakeable tones of John Gielgud to set the tone for some amazingly beautiful images from the aurora borealis as viewed from outer space.

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Malick and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, if nothing else, deliver stunningly beautiful vistas and backdrops for his narratives and characters, yet like the characters, there seems to be something empty at its core. The concrete, glass and metal world of Los Angeles with its office blocks reaching for the sky as symbols of power is succinctly captured

Christian Bale, seemingly in a daze, plays the wandering soul drifting through Hollywood - a screenwriter who is never seen actually writing and meanders in an out of bacchanalian goings-on: from strip clubs to pool parties to dips in the surf. Suffering creative and personal crises, he leads a thoroughly vacuous existence which makes for a less than riveting experience to observe.

We learn that his marriage to Cate Blanchett as a hospital doctor has collapsed. There are also tortured relationships with his father (Brian Dennehy) and his brother (Wes Bentley). None of them are developed enough to make us care.

It takes Antonio Banderas’s exuberant cameo as the host of yet another sumptuous party to liven up the proceedings as well as a canine wearing a Hawaiian T-shirt, who dives fetchingly in to a pool to retrieve a ball.

Knight of Cups (a reference to a Tarot card reading) is not in the same class as To the Wonder or The Tree Of Life. It is good to see a filmmaker of the stature of Malick regaining his creativity and the financial ability to make movies - he has another drama still to come and a documentary Voyage of Time.

Let’s hope that his stream of consciousness in future becomes more focused.

Reviewed on: 05 Sep 2015
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