Movie Review: KNIGHT OF CUPS - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: KNIGHT OF CUPS

    Several famous movie actors star in the new film called KNIGHT OF CUPS from director Terrence Malick, but it’s nothing like a typical Hollywood movie.

      First of all, the film has no real plot and very little dialog. Instead, it offers beautiful cinematography (by three time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki) and a creative soundtrack coupled with actors who are improvising their scenes based on the director’s ideas. 

      The main character is a depressed Hollywood screenwriter who looks for love and meaning in all the wrong places.

Rick (voice over): I’ve spent 30 years not living life. All those years, living the life of someone I didn’t even know. I can’t remember the man I wanted to be.

      Christian Bale is Rick, the screenwriter whose life is the center of all this visual poetry.     

       The movie seems to be showing us memories of his life in a stream of consciousness flow. Several different beautiful women are important to Rick including his former wife played by Cate Blanchett. 

Wife (voice over): You’re still the love of my life. Should I tell you that? 

       Each of the women he remembers gets only a few lines of dialog at most.

Stripper: You live in a little fantasy world, don’t you?

Rick: Don’t you?

Stripper: Yes, because it’s so much more fun.

Della: You don’t want love. You want a love experience.

Helen: Is this a friendship we have?

Elizabeth: You have love in you; I know it.

       Rick also has unresolved issues with his father and a brother.

       Not much is spelled out though each section of the film bears the name of a Tarot card. Here are two of the actors explaining what the director’s process is like.

Natalie Portman: Terry writes pages and pages of ideas mixed with dialog mixed with stream of consciousness. And you’re supposed to say what feels right to you.

Christian Bale: Some days I would arrive, and I literally would walk into the set and they were already filming, so I would sort of walk into the scene and figure it out. 

       Malick is a brilliant director but KNIGHT OF CUPS is the kind of experience only art film devotees will appreciate. Sitting through it is almost like watching a very creative music video for two hours. 

       Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.       thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com

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