Rick is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, California. While he's successful in his career, his life feels empty. Haunted by the death of one brother and the dire circumstances of the other, he finds temporary solace in the Hollywood excess that defines his existence. Women provide a distraction to the daily pain he must endure, and every encounter that comes his way brings him closer to finding his place in the world. The film is divided into eight chapters (each named after a tarot card, except for the final chapter Freedom), plus a prologue, each loosely based around the central character's relationship with somebody in his life..
[dancing in a night club in a sexy outfit]
You live in a little fantasy world, don't you ?
Are you ?
Because it's so much more fun...
Enjoy yours ?
[she nods smiling]
Changes every day... I can be whatever I wanna be... Don't forget that... You can be whoever you want to be...
[laughs, kisses him, smiles]
You can be an asshole. You can be a saint...
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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 »
Composed by Michael Bain
Performed by Sleep Good
Courtesy of Autobus Records See more »
Everything is left for interpretation...
Creating films since the early 1970's, Terrance Malick has earnt his right as an auteur film-maker. Yet, it does pose the question - are his films actually any good, or do they just get carried along? Often they feel about forty-five minutes too long, seem to have no understanding of what they are actually about, yet always do very well. His latest film, Knight of Cups, seems to follow that trend.
That said, Knight of Cups is not so much a conventional type of film, but more of an experience. This particular experience follows Christian Bale's character (Rick), through the wanders of L.A, as he tries to make sense of what is occurring around him. It's philosophical, it's dazing and completely bizarre. Put into simple context, it is essentially Christian Bale wandering around and doing celebrity-type stuff, all whilst narrated with allegories, riddles and meaningful - yet forgetful, quotes. Trying to make sense of it as an audience is already complicated, let alone Bale's character trying to do it too.
Filmed like a travel advert, Malick's film-making style remains good - even if the substance doesn't.. Vistas, slow motion, calming piano tracks and narration all squeeze into the mixture as the non-linear narrative imposes its poetic words onto the screen visually (or attempts to).
No shortage of stars, Knight of Cups entices us in with the big names such as Bale, Blanchett, Portman and Poots - plus another ten- or-so cameos inbetween - but that aside, much of the film is random, misplaced nonsense that the main character is trying just as hard to understand. At several points you get to a point that you think you understand it, but soon realise you don't.
Asked at the Berlinale Press Conference of the film - Bale was asked what the film was actually about, to which he replies; 'The very nice and very interesting thing in Terence's approach was that he didn't tell us what it was about... We talked an awful lot about different things, but he really just gave me a character description and a background of who he was - then he would torpedo us in'...
Granted it looks very nice - even if at points it feels like a Lady GaGa video - yet, what Malick does confidentially with Knight of Cups is leave a lot open to interpretation and / or confusion.