Film Review: Knight of Cups

Film Review: Knight of Cups
Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and Antonio Banderas are just four of the HUGE names who star in Terrence Malick’s latest offering, Knight of Cups.

Sadly, the movie is so inaccessible, dull and detached from reality that the cast’s performances are drowned out due to the risk of audiences being completely uninterested while watching.

Production began almost four years ago and the stars have already spoken about what a challenge it was to shoot, seeing as Malick gave them no real script to work with. After two years spent in post-production, the movie has finally hit cinema screens, but the only emotions triggered from the finished piece are confusion and utter boredom.

Our leading man is washed-up, fed-up-of-life screenwriter Rick (Bale), who continues to question everything over and over again through distant voiceovers that fail to match up with what’s going on onscreen.

After visiting a tarot card reader, the film quickly divides into different chapters aligned with each card presented. From the outside, Bale’s alter ego is rather apt, as the Knight of Cups is described as a person who binges on ideas, opportunities and offers, but is constantly bored and in need of stimulation.

For Rick, distraction presents itself in the form of women, including model Helen (Freida Pinto) and ex-wife Nancy (Blanchett), married lover Elizabeth (Portman) and stripper Karen (Teresa Palmer). However, due to the lack of interaction between the characters and the laidback nature of the film, slowed down by long, drawn-out scenes, there’s no attachment to these people from a viewer’s perspective.

Each section focuses on a different individual who Rick interacts with, and each person is given their own voiceover full of empty sentences and pointless metaphors. It’s a shame, as every cast member is fully capable of putting on a memorable performance (Bale, Blanchett and Portman have all won Oscars for crying out loud!), and their talents are completely wasted here.

Some have noted that Malick explores the concept and idea of love through Knight of Cups, as Imogen Poots’ character Della – a free-spirited young woman who Rick has a fling with – points out he wants the experience of it, not love itself.

What we have here is an art-house project resembling something that film students could have put together during university, which has somehow tricked its way into a mainstream release thanks to the director and celebrities featured.

Amid all these criticisms though, it is a refreshing watch visually, with each and every moment shot using natural light and close-up camera angles capturing moments that may have been missed from afar. But what good is that if there’s no story to emphasise and bring to life?

Knight of Cups is best left to those who appreciate offbeat projects that have no real concept, and – arguably – isn’t for those who live in the real world.

© Cover Media


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