Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Knight of Cups


If you thought Terrence Malick’s last film, The Tree of Life, was controversial, get a load of this one. Most people either loved or hated that one. I was in the minority: I loved some of it, didn’t care for some of it, didn’t hate any of it. But this one finally got me fed up with the stuff he’s doing these days.

It is the story of Rick (Christian Bale), a rich and successful screenwriter who feels empty inside. So already we are in unfriendly territory to me. I really find it hard to give much of a shit about the existential problems of rich people. I figure, whatever you’re suffering from, asshole, try it while being poor. Give away all your stuff and live on the street, it will be more fulfilling. And by the way, fuck you, Charlie.

I have seldom seen a movie with such interminably slow pacing. Rick wanders from scene to disjointed scene (nothing is in any kind of sequence) whispering or muttering deep, questioning, pretentious thoughts, often just one word, followed by another word a minute or so later. He is moving among his rich friends, whose empty lives are probably symbolized by the stark interiors they inhabit, completely bereft of any hint of the tenant’s personality. You figure they probably stretch out on beds made of marble every night, they are that cold.

I have to say that it is quite beautiful. All of Malick’s films are, he has a terrific eye. That kept me going to about the halfway point, when I realized that if I stuck with this shit much longer I might have to slit my wrists before I got to the end. In the interest of my personal safety, and because I want to see how Game of Thrones comes out (will Khaleesi mount the Iron Throne?), I turned it off.