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. Written by
In keeping with Malick's notoriety of constantly re-editing his works, some of the excerpted clips released for promotion before the film's release ended up not being used, or very differently edited in the final cut. See more »
I spent 30 years... not living life... but ruining it... for myself... and others... I can't remember... the man... I wanted to be...
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"For optimal sound reproduction, the producers of this film recommend that you play it loud." (In the opening credits.) See more »
'All those years, living the life of someone I didn't even know.'
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 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.
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