KNIGHT OF CUPS – A Review By Gadi Elkon

Imaginative Writer/Director Terrence Malick's latest work, Knight of Cups, contains the usual visual brilliance and philosophical battles in his previous films, but the movie lacks a real connection to it's lead actor.  Should you spend your night watching Knight of Cups?  Click through for my full review.

When strippers feel like you "live in your own fantasy world", than you may be a bit to unusual.  Terrence Malick's films always test the boundaries with their bold visual choices, moody and moving scores, and the avant garde ideas touched in the uneven plots.  Knight of Cups maintains the bold beautiful style of a Malick film, but sadly lacks the connect ability or intrigue to keep the story going.  Basically an hour in you're wondering why you need to watch Christian Bale sleep around with gorgeous women.  I'd rather have jumped to Cate Blanchett's "Nancy" or Natalie Portman's "Elizabeth".  A constant theme in Malick's films has been his ability to cast the most amazing actresses, but always their roles are either truncated or non-existent in the final film.  Either way the plot's simple tale of celebrity sexpot emoting sad thoughts about his difficult relationship with his father (Brian Dennehey in a crazy fun role) and druggie brother (well cast Wes Bentley) is just to boring to recommend.

Here are my three reasons why you should look for another film choice this weekend and week.


When the other characters in the film easily outshine and more intriguing why do you keep on the sad Rick?  Bale's casting as a whole confounds.  But the casting of Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and a slew of beautiful actresses and models seems sadly misused.  Malick's ability to tell father/son tales through the beautiful mystique of his visual choices usually comes across as profound or moving. Bale is boring, his daddy is a nut and his brother is an angry drug addict.  None of the connection to Rick seem realistic or believable.  More Nancy would have made this film more unique and actually out-Malick Malick!!!


Antonio Banderas' wealthy playboy character easily allows for an amazing outdoor party sequence that is one of the highlights of the film.  A lot of fun cameos in the party scenes.  Antonio's character is also one of the most fun to experience as he's just crazy aloof to the world.  All the characters in the film pop in and out, but Banderas always does it with a special flair element.  Minus that flamboyant character the majority of the conquests of Rick never have any substance.  Just beautiful woman.  Frieda Pinto's sultry yet sweet model, Helen, is one of the conquests you wished there was more time with.  The film fires through more than a dozen different actresses and only a few have the time to standout.  I hate to repeat myself, but Malick should writer less for his male lead and more for the surrounding characters.


The City of Los Angeles is uniquely shown in the film.  We see some fun parts of the town and also the usual high opulence seen in most films.  Imogen Poots dark take on Della is a really fascinating choice and her LA portions are just pure fun.  You aren't fully sure where Rick is going to end up with his new beautiful eyed escort friend.  Either way Malick and the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki "Chivo" showcase LA like no one else.  The natural beauty around California is also nicely highlighted and one amazing shot sequence of the northern lights from a satellite hovering over the atmosphere is pure magic.  Lubezki is the first ever three time consecutive Oscar winner and all his talent is maximized when he works with Malick.  There is little question the visual experience of the film is worth your money, but the story just might make you eventually walk out.  Beware of Knight of Cups, and take a chance on films like Only Yesterday, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or Eye In the Sky.


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