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 Knight of Cups 

What grade would you give this film?
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 Knight of Cups 
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Let's Call It A Bromance
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Post Knight of Cups
Knight of Cups

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Knight of Cups is a 2015 American experimental drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and produced by Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green and Ken Kao. The film stars an ensemble cast of Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, Brian Dennehy, Freida Pinto, Imogen Poots, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer and Wes Bentley.

Loosely inspired by and at times quoting directly from both the 1678 Christian allegory The Pilgrim's Progress and the passage Hymn of the Pearl from the Acts of Thomas, the film follows depressed Los Angeles screenwriter Rick (Christian Bale) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.

After over two years in post-production, the film premiered in the main competition section at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2015 to polarizing reviews. The film was released theatrically in the United States on March 4, 2016 by Broad Green Pictures to further mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike.

The title of the film refers to the tarot card, the Knight of Cups.


Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:06 am
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Post Re: Knight of Cups
Easily Terrence Malick's nadir. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Knight of Cups tells the "story" of a hard-living, vacant-eyed screenwriter (Christian Bale) who broadly moves through despair and West Coast hedonism toward transcendence, though any arc is obviously and entirely created in post-production and never reflected by a catatonic Bale. I can only imagine the director's hardest of hardcore apologists enjoying this latest outing, which lapses into extreme self-parody by way of predictability. The rhapsody of orchestral music, picturesque hand-held photography, and whispered sermonizing holds no power because one is so constantly aware of its creator repeating and absurdly indulging himself. The film is two hours of half-second vignettes: an out-of-context word here, a meaningful glance there, a shot of a building, a shot of people shouting or twirling, a cut to the desert, a cut to a cloud, everything submerged in Beethoven or Chopin or a member of the cast intoning lines such as, "Go. Where? Find it. Forward. Life. The pearl! The pearl!" A substantial point-A-to-point-B plot is not required, but none of it ever coheres into a feeling or an idea. It is just visual and aural information. There is beauty, but it just floats in the air for a second and vanishes in a mist. Though it may be integral to his ability to finance no-audience art-house films, the director's tendency to fill a cast with A-list or at least recognizable talent and then edit their performances to the point of abstraction has also become frustrating and distracting: many scenes become a game of, "Wait, there is..." At one point, the regal voice of Ben Kingsley enters to provide a minute of voice-over, and he has no other involvement in the finished picture. No one in the cast is able to give an honest-to-God, deeply felt performance the way Sam Shepard did in Days of Heaven (or Nick Nolte in The Thin Red Line, or Colin Farrell in The New World). Malick no longer exhibits an iota of interest in showcasing or even modestly complementing the extremely gifted performers he employs.

I am also surprised the film received almost no criticism for its use of minorities and women: the inclusion of African American homeless people as a counterpoint to the Bale character's emptily luxurious lifestyle registers as exploitative poverty tourism, and our hero tears through a roster of beautiful women, played by, among others, Teresa Palmer, Freida Pinto, and Natalie Portman (each lecherously photographed by the Reclusive Great Man), none of whom are given a single distinctive trait beyond being photogenic vessels for their male lover's nondescript gloom.

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Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:10 pm
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Post Re: Knight of Cups
Oh, I agree with Magnus re: Wes Bentley. And Brian Dennehy. You can just tell they were into it on set, creating this dynamic of a traumatized family, maybe with a blue-collar origin even though they are now living well in L.A. But their effort is cut to ribbons.

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1. The Lost City of Z - 2. A Cure for Wellness - 3. Phantom Thread - 4. T2 Trainspotting - 5. Detroit - 6. Good Time - 7. The Beguiled - 8. The Florida Project - 9. Logan and 10. Molly's Game


Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:14 pm
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Post Re: Knight of Cups
No matter how much I don't like the movie, I never walk out of a screening. During this film, I took a bathroom break and I really really didn't want to go back in. Malick is completely up his own ass now beyond the point of no return. Fuck him.

I only give him credit on one thing: he really knows how to film women beautifully. Almost to the point of being creepy.

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Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:32 pm
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