I won't mislead anyone. This movie is a tough watch if you don't like movie as a form of art and poetry. This movie requires you to be open-minded, philosophically inclined and love good cinematography and music.Malick once again put me in a hypnotic state of trance while watching this film. He keeps on going against conventional movie making. His style is hypnotic and gorgeous. What I took away after and while watching this movie is that it is a observational piece on human behavior. It made me realize how crazy the human race is. The way we enjoy entertainment, treat our women and <more>
live our lives. It's all a really surreal thing for a species to do. Apart from the plot, this movie is mesmerizing and extremely relaxing to watch. The soundtrack is trippy and hypnotic as always and Malick is really settling on a certain like it or hate it style of filmmaking. It's very personal whether you like his films or not. To me personally his films are wonderful observational pieces of art that should be stored and preserver for future generations to reflect upon. His films are also really great material to watch when you're high on psychedelics ;
Takes you to a great emotional level (by atlantic_aj)
Impressive piece of art. Explores many feelings and life topics, taking one through some of the deepest human emotions. Christian Bale's performance is amazing -like usual. Cate Blanchett is fantastic as well. And in all fairness, most of the cast deserves an applause. I personally believe this to be Malick's best work, delivering the best he has to offer. Not all publics might understand and enjoy this movie, as it requires a high emotional quotient; and willingness to let yourself flow through the experience. The scenes, the lighting, the angles, the cleanness of the movie... <more>
everything is greatly curated. No description or use of words can make justice to the experience of watching this movie.
I gave this film five stars at first viewing, and give it ten at second.The first time I watched it all I saw was the twirling and self parody. But the first time I watched it I was so transfixed by the images that I didn't pay attention to the voice-over. To echo the plot of the movie, I forgot about the Prince and became transfixed with the land he was in.This is an incredible movie, it is more than a movie, it is a profound meditation on the loss and consequent pursuit of spiritual identity in a materialistic world. The vapid empty satisfaction of self that leads nowhere and the <more>
rediscovery of purpose within this illusory, bright world brought about by suffering or death.If you're only going to watch this once, don't bother. There's simply too much to process in one viewing. If there's a fault with this movie it is that the images are so hypnotic they distract from the voice-overs overlay that gives them coherence. Perhaps this is intentional and an allegory for the message of the film itself.This is the most subtle film Malick has made, and as such will leave most people shaking their heads in bewilderment and will further polarize his fans and detractors. If you're already a fan, give it a second viewing. It won't disappoint.
Recently Peter Greenaway confessed he almost never saw a movie because there was no development to the form, still being a staged play, with actors doing their lines before the camera: just painting by numbers. Malick is one of the few that do not fit that description of the current state of the art, the others being directors like Tarkovsky, Kar-Wai and to a lesser extent Kubrick.In Knight of Cups all of Malick's trademarks are present: Rapid intersection of images, hiding of the story in the imagery, perfection in editing and the stream of consciousness-technique where thoughts and <more>
feelings are woven in voice-over with narrative. Knight of Cups has many autobiographical elements like The Tree of Life loss of a brother and To The Wonder loss of relationships already had: A son reflects on the essence of life, on his problematic ambiguous relationship with his father recently deceased, one chapter in the movie is called Death and on his relation with his surviving philanthropic brother also deceased . Then there is the stream of women passing through his life and his feelings of lack of fulfillment. Strongly biblical in nature, questions of guilt and forgiveness pass on throughout, the movie being Malick's therapeutic instrument for reflection on his own life. It invites the audience to deconstruct the images, working as a kind of reversed post-modernism. It blurs the line between real and imagination, combined with the images it works almost hypnotically.There is a strong comparison here to Tarkovsky's autobiographical Zerkalo / Mirror, where the story itself was simple, but the container was rich and complex as only film can be. There is the famous story of the cleaning lady check it out on IMDb who explained this Tarkovsky movie in one sentence to all critics still baffled by its meaning and trying to make sense of it all .There are so many great elements in Knight of Cups only a few can be stipulated here: Comparing deep personal problems to the largest possible context, for example shots of the atmosphere going over in shots of Rick's convertible. Humanity finding his true salvation in nature, frequently a scene ends with a shot of rock formations or the famous moving stones in the desert, suggesting time, eternity and acceptance. Christian symbolism: A whole scene in Las Vegas ends with a statue of an angel.Imagewise, it is his most accomplished movie: amazing shots of both nature and culture intersecting in a way that keeps haunting you; Lubezki's cinematography and Fisk's production design here at the height of their possibilities. One example: The allure of female beauty is brought to the screen so beautiful and intelligent it results in striking image after striking image: shoes, bodies, masks, ads.It is very interesting to compare the vision on humanity Kubrick, Herzog, Mann and Malick have: Where Kubrick was the Sartre of filmmaking being pessimistic about the existence of man; Herzog sees nature and human culture as strictly separate entities where humanity should not venture. In Mann's world, humanity has lost its emotions, being captured in its own Foucauldian technological prisons. Malick however sees humanity in disarray with nature and part of salvation lies in the resolution of that misalliance. It can also be said that Malick's work is the visual equivalent of the writings of Heidegger, Malick being the translator of Das Wesen der Grundes / The Essence of Reasons. In Knight of Cups we see an inquiry into Sein Being through a person for whom Sein is a question Dasein . Experience can only be described from the viewpoint of this Dasein. A voice without a voice, coming from conscience, calls Man back in self-awareness and fulfillment back in Eigentlichkeit from Uneigentlichkeit meanwhile answering questions about his own existence.This won nothing in Berlin with all prizes going to minor, uninteresting filmmakers. I think it would also be difficult for Aronofsky to admit his own filmmaking limitations. Although it will likely receive little peer-to-peer or critical appraisal, it brings the art of film to a higher level, earning a place in film history considerable time from now: nonsensical to many, life altering for some.
'All those years, living the life of someone I didn't even know.' (by gradyharp)
Writer/director Terrence Malick is Terrence Malick and either you relate to his films or avoid them. They are art pieces: not all art appeals to everyone. His films are an expression of a philosophy that the mind constructs all the input the eyes see and the body feels and while it may not make a story that is easy to follow is there really anything to follow in any of his films? it provides a unique experience that requires the viewer to relinquish expectations of storytelling and simply sail through the visual magnificence of the images Malick places on the screen and populates with <more>
enough characters to offer a hand during the journey he has shared.Try to piece together a definition of the story and it comes in two levels: 1 'A 30 year old writer Rick – Christian Bale indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.' And 2 A fable – 'Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep.' The sections of the film are named according to Tarot Cards.The dialogue is mostly off camera with notable exceptions and offers some sensitive philosophical notes that accompany the photography and the essentially classical music score that illuminates the film. The dialogue counts: Joseph Brian Dennehy is the main character Rick's father and states 'You think when you reach a certain age things will start making sense, and you find out that you are just as lost as you were before. I suppose that's what damnation is. The pieces of your life never to come together, just splashed out there.' And there are many memorable lines – 'You live in a little fantasy world, don't you?' 'Treat this world as it deserves, there are no principles, just circumstances. Nobody's home.' All those years, living the life of someone I didn't even know.' 'No one cares about reality anymore.'The cast, even if through very brief appearances, is uniformly excellent – Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Brian Dennehy, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Imogen Poots, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Cherry Jones, Jason Clarke, and too many others to credit. The magnificent cinematography is by Emmanuel Lubecki and the musical score montage is credited to Hanan Townshend.Perhaps not a film for everyone, but for those who wish to expand their visual and philosophical horizons, set sail with Knight of Cups.
Malick's Masterpiece - Hated because it's beautiful (by mikhail-leal)
I won't spend many words on my review. It'll mostly be a reflection.This film perhaps Malick's best one so far is being panned slaughtered, maybe is the right term by the critic and the general public. At the same time as I'm writing this Donald Trump is the republican paladin for the presidential elections. There's a very good chance that he may even win the elections God forbid .One could think that both facts are not connected. Yet they are. Our society has turned into trash.If a film like Tarkovsky's "Stalker" had been released in the present time it <more>
would also be smashed to the ground.A society as rotten and corrupt as ours could never acknowledge the beauty and meaning of a film like "Knight of Cups". I'm relieved that some people are mesmerized by its beauty.It's a sign that some people still look towards the sky, instead of spending their life looking at the mud on the ground like Rick was doing at the beginning of the movie .
An enigma within and enigma albeit a beautiful one . (by Balthazar-5)
Let me start by saying that I regard Terrence Malick as the sole currently working director who can be spoken of with the same reverence as that for the great early masters of cinema – Welles, Chaplin, Hitchcock, Renoir make your own list . Since 'The Tree of Life' - even since 'The New World', I have thought of him as the saviour of modern cinema from the slurry of bland naturalism.But the enormous stylistic advances in cinematic expression that have characterised his recent works have come at a price, and the price is clarity of vision. We do not necessarily need to <more>
*know* what his images represent, but we need to *feel* it. Occasionally in 'The Tree of Life', frequently in 'To the WONDER' and most of the time in 'Knight of Cups' most people would, I suspect, be at a loss to rationally explain the relevance of much of Malick's visual expression. They don't always 'feel' right, either. So after three viewings I offer my 'guide' to this enigmatic film. The 'story' no story of 'Knight of Cups' is that of a 'celebrity' Rick Christian Bale on the loose in Hollywood, who has lost his moral compass and lives a life of total debauchery drifting from one soulless sexual encounter to another in between failed relationships.This is represented in a kaleidoscopic torrent of imagery reminiscent of the works of Bruce Connor in the 1960s. Bale does the best he can with the central role of Rick, a 'celebrity' in Hollywood, but, like Sean Penn in 'The Tree of Life', he has really drawn the short straw, as he, like Ben Affleck, Penn and Richard Gere before him tries to wordlessly express his response to ambiguous emotional and moral situations.Malick, to his credit, tells us what the film is about in an opening voice-over, which recounts a story 'Hymn of the Pearl' from Acts of Thomas in the Apocrypha. A king sends his son to search for a pearl in a foreign land. The pearl is to be found in the sea, protected by a hissing serpent, but the prince is seduced by the inhabitants of the foreign country and given a sleeping draft. After he awakes, he has forgotten not only what he came for, but even that he is a prince.Much of the first half of the film memorably but not graphically depicts the life of total decadence that Rick finds in Tinseltown. But this is interspersed with encounters – real or imagined, present or past – with people from his former life – wife, brother, father.The term 'emotional roller coaster' is often inappropriately used, but here it is very precisely apt, as one has the sense of Rick being propelled down paths he'd rather not take by external forces over which he has lost control. But, for me, at least, this section is too long and suffers from overkill, in the 'when you've seen one, you've seen 'em all' sense. The rest of the film follows Rick in his attempts to make sense of his life and find 'the pearl', and, to be fair, the film does give the sense of an inexorable move in this direction which aids dramatic tension and gives clarity in some measure. As in 'To the WONDER', with the story of the crisis of faith of the priest, here also there are tangential sections in which compassion is seen as the alter ego of passion, and the place of young children adds positive emotion to an otherwise extremely bleak, if dazzlingly beautiful work.Yes, Malick's unique visual lyricism is frequently on display, but, I would have to say that it seems less well integrated into the work's thematic thrust than it is in other of his films, but I could be mistaken here and I will be wanting to see it at least four or five more times when it opens in France in a couple of months.Visually it is, from time to time, spectacular; sometimes Malick's montages are breathtaking, but there are great mysteries here that I have not come near to fathoming even after three viewings. Frequent shots of high-flying passenger jets, fast-moving shots from the front of a car on desert roads and long-held bleak landscapes from Death Valley and environs punctuate the film. It is not difficult to see the 'meaning' that these images carry, but it is difficult to know why they are repeated so often. If I sound disappointed, I have not deceived, but Malick, with his entire work, has set the bar so high that anything not bordering on masterpiece simply has to be a disappointment. I drove a thousand kilometres to see this film and back again, and I do not regret the time and effort, but this is a desperately difficult work to fathom and, frankly, for me, makes 'To the WONDER' look like a model of clarity.I see it as the third and sadly least in an intensely personal trilogy for Malick. So where next?
A surreal look into a man's crumbling world (by Lubezki)
Let's get one thing straight; Terrence Malick's films aren't exactly everyone's cup of tea. They're arguably the most unconventionally crafted movies from a well renowned director out there. Audiences normally criticize him for being highly pretentious and having no meaning in his work. But for some, his films represent everything we love about the artistic medium of motion pictures. With his latest offering, "Knight of Cups", Christian Bale stars as a screenwriter eager to explore his seedy persona in the dreamlike whereabouts of LA.The film swoons along with a <more>
plethora of illusory montages, with Bale being Malick's primary focus as he trudges through the streets of downtown L.A., bizarre nightclubs swarming with vibrant dancers, house parties exclusively for the rich and meditative walks through the desolate wastelands of the Las Vegas desert. For the majority of the film he cuts a forlorn figure, basically looking to find some sort of significance of his life and finding the answer to faith. And in typical Malick fashion, none of what we see on screen is straightforward and we're left to determine our own meaning on the gorgeously composed images. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki once again has a vice like grip on how to bring an ethereal visual lyricism to surroundings. Malick is one the very few directors who really embraces the beauty of artistic filmmaking. They may not follow a clear cut narrative, but there's no doubting that there's an alluring poetic rhythm that's present in his films. The key is for the viewer to figure out what Malick is attempting to portray. And even if you can't, just go along for the experience. Simply put, if you enjoy his films, you'll most likely find some sort of reward with this.
great film, unique vision, beautiful images -- for acting, i guess look elsewhere. (by mpugachev)
Another seemingly inscrutable film from Terrance Malick. Can it be summed up as Mans search for Meaning in a seemingly meaningless world? Its definitely some kind of existentially themed flick, and there isn't much of a story or plot here, but the depth of ambition is quite deep. I felt the movie was very gentle, very genteel as well in its feel, all the dramatic yelling and cussing was muted aurally, and the camera moving gently about while the drama is exploding to the side certainly hammered that feeling home -- uncaring world, caring people. The movie didn't give any answers to <more>
the questions it raised, but it did accompany a certain feeling of unrest, of dread, but also of beauty and splendor. The score was beautiful, and all the songs used were really spot on and magnificent. The movie looks heavenly. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki made this movie look even better than The Revenant, but the Revenant had fancier camera work, choreography, and just bombast and ambition, however the colors were certainly prettier in this one. Was it Malick or Lubezki? How should i know. I don't think interiors have ever been more beautifully displayed in cinema than in this movie, and heck, the last shot of the desert took my breath away also. The way the shadows play with light is something to behold here. The director isn't even afraid to throw some jerky ugly disorienting camera movements this time around, or interject with some ugly footage, only to wow you with the real thing back again. I can still see the entire movie in my head 2 days later, so thats a sign that the images were something special, indeed. The only problem, and a trade-off of this kind of movie, is that there was not much of a plot and so I don't know how this movie will hold for repeat viewings. But it certainly leaves a strong indelible mark on you when the credits roll, and thats a mark of a great film. There isn't any witty dialogue or outstanding acting, but i don't think this particular film was going for that. Some people will fault this movie for that, but i think this isn't just that kind of movie where you quote the dialogue years later by heart. I wouldn't give out any acting awards to anyone here certainly. it reminded me of andrei rublev, a similar feel of something grandiose and spiritual unfolding before your eyes.