Knight of Cups 2016

Knight of Cups

Critics Consensus

Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.

47%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 179

37%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,336

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Movie Info

A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and a married woman (Natalie Portman).

Cast & Crew

Terrence Malick
Screenwriter
Ken Kao
Producer
Glen Basner
Executive Producer
Tanner Beard
Executive Producer
Emmanuel Lubezki
Cinematographer
Geoffrey Richman
Film Editor
Keith Fraase
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Knight of Cups

Critic Reviews for Knight of Cups

All Critics (179) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (84) | Rotten (95)

  • More of the same from Malick, but as thin as it is, this is a trick that still hasn't run its course.

    May 26, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Whatever Muse drives Malick, whose best work feels both found - in the sense of discovered in the shoot and edit - and profound, he could be accused of cheating on her in Knight of Cups, leapfrogging between unsatisfactory short-term conquests.

    May 5, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • It's Terrence frickin' Malick... Stand up and pay attention.

    May 3, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • There's nothing quite like a Malick movie. But once viewers have contemplated the mysteries of the universe itself, perhaps anything else will feel like a step down.

    March 30, 2016 | Full Review…
  • This is all simply Malick being Malick - you're either on his wavelength or you're not.

    March 18, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Virtually every scene is delivered through a gauzy cinematic curtain that obscures rather than elucidates, and we never come close to penetrating the angst-filled veneer of the protagonist.

    March 17, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Knight of Cups

  • Apr 04, 2017
    If Siddhartha Gautama lived on the west coast, never attained any sort of enlightenment but feigned his spirituality by reading obscure Gnostic texts and getting tarot readings all the while basking in the superfluous reveries of modern America (i.e. boobs), he probably wouldn't be a very good role model. Christian Bale's character seems to do just that in this film, and it was very difficult to feel any sort of kinship or empathy towards him. If Bale is here representing anything or anyone, most would place their bets on it being director Terrence Malick himself. If this is true then Malick has revealed himself to be less of a Bodhisattva and more of a bourgeois savant in "Knight of Cups". Taking the poetic stylism of his past few films to the absolute extreme, a few lines of on-screen dialogue become vital breaths of fresh air as the viewer wades in the mystifying soundtrack, swims through whispers of narrated subconsciousness, and drowns in the free-flowing dance of the camera. It's as ethereal as it is ephemeral. It is a beautiful but somewhat empty gift box that you can place whatever dreams, beliefs, or meaning you want inside. But if you aren't in the mood, it can be a grating bore. Malick's defining work "The Tree of Life" is an absolute masterpiece of cinema, and this movie seems to be an extension of that. It is an experimental film, and like all experiments it must have a hypothesis. I'm guessing the hypothesis for "Knight of Cups" was: Can I push the boundaries of visual language farther than the limits of my audience's patience? Given the past several films have continually pissed off Malick fans and haters alike, it is no surprise that you'll hear the word "pretentious" thrown out fairly often. Pretentious is a word that I think most people use to excuse their poor taste and/or lack of comprehension of a given work of art. To say that Malick and company are biting off more than they can chew or that they think of these films as more important than they are is a bit insulting to not only the filmmakers but also to those of us with a background in theology, mysticism, and/or the occult. The philosophy of the film is not half-baked, but it is a bit syncretic, blending eastern and western spiritual concepts at will. A brief literature review of the film (hell, just look up what the knight of cups means in tarot) will yield a more enriched understanding of the film. That being said, "Knight of Cups" and its recent predecessors are for the most part all head and no heart. That doesn't make them any less real, just less resonant. Look at Wim Wenders. Most people will be looking for the raw sentimentality of "Paris, Texas" not the beguiling odyssey of "Wings of Desire". For Malick, he's a much different man than he was when making "Badlands". Instead of focusing on those big moments when your life changed, he catches glimpses of someone walking off, or a brief exchange when flirting, or another disappointing day - when life was really changing, it just didn't feel that way at the time. All in all this film comes across as detached and a little too specific to the experiences of a straight, white, male upper-middle class artist, but there's more to be found if you delve deep enough.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2016
    Terrence Malick's are often something completely different from anything you'll experience at a movie theater, so I'm always interested in seeing the next thing he has up his sleeve. Knight of Cups continues his streak of highly experimental and undoubtedly polarizing filmmaking. I can't say it's the easiest to review, considering there really is no overarching story, so I'll instead opt to simply react to my time watching this ensemble piece. The main thing I took from the experience was that Malick wished to make something about the hypocritical underbelly of the Hollywood landscape. Christian Bale, who plays the main character (of sorts), is a Hollywood screen writer but we never truly get any sense that he works within the film business. Instead, it's his exploration or pilgrimage through the majestic world and sexual desires that come along with it. But really, that's about it. It's gorgeously shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, obviously, and Malick weaves through characters in an interestingly brisk fashion. I don't necessarily mean this in a critical way, but it may be a better watch without the unnecessary and strange narration or score. Instead, enjoy Lubezki's beautiful cinematography and several big name actor cameos as a background to whatever else you're doing. The story (or lack thereof) just didn't resonate with me. I much prefer Malick's earlier features with more polished performances and traditional script. But perhaps, that's just me. 40/100
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2016
    http://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/knight-of-cups-dir-terrence-malick-2015.html
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2016
    Malick has completely abandoned narrative here, instead he's capturing fragmented memories, dreams, and emotions. I know people find his more recent efforts tiresome, but I think that's a mistake. Here's a filmmaker really baring his soul to the audience while trying to find meaning in his own suffering and I believe that's a perspective worth experiencing.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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