Subscribe

'Knight of Cups': Director Terrence Malick's movies have become increasingly somnolent

'Cups' stars Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter. Malick’s movie is pushing the same old cliché about the soullessness of the material life versus the spirituality of a life lived apart from such corruptions.

  • close
    Cate Blanchett stars as ‘Nancy’ and Christian Bale as ‘Rick’ in Terrence Malick's drama ‘Knight of Cups,’ a Broad Green Pictures release.
    Courtesy of Melinda Sue Gordon/Broad Green Pictures
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

There was a time when I looked forward to Terrence Malick’s movies, infrequent as they are, because, for all his infuriating artiness, he has a way of seeing that’s unlike any other director’s. At his best, in films like “Badlands” and snatches of some of his others, he evokes a trancelike lyricism. But his films, starting especially with “The Tree of Life” and the unfortunate “To the Wonder,” have become increasingly somnolent – privatized meditations about life and death and the meaning of it all. 

“Knight of Cups” isn’t quite as fancy-flimsy as “To the Wonder,” which, as I remember it, consisted mostly of Ben Affleck gazing dazedly at wave formations, but it’s close enough. Christian Bale plays a Hollywood screenwriter, at least that’s what he thinks he is, who endures a life of swank movie-colony parties and babes flinging themselves at him (among those playing the “babes”: Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Freida Pinto) while, on the soundtrack, we hear his (or somebody’s) voice-over bemoaning the sad state of existence. Audiences may beg to differ with him: If you’re going to suffer, there are worse ways than being pursued by someone who looks like Freida.

Malick’s movie, with its recurring passages of Edvard Grieg and others on the music track, may seem high-toned, but he’s pushing the same old cliché about the soullessness of the material life versus the spirituality of a life lived apart from such corruptions. Since Bale’s character doesn’t exhibit any inner spiritual life to begin with, his disillusion here rings false. 

Recommended: The 50 best movies of all time

I used to think it was a good thing that Malick made movies like no one else’s. Maybe he should try being a bit more derivative next time. Grade: C (Rated R for some nudity, sexuality, and language.)

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK