Knight of Cups (2016) - Rotten Tomatoes

Knight of Cups (2016)

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Critic 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.

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Movie Info

Knight of Cups follows writer Rick (Christian Bale, The Fighter, American Hustle) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self. Even as he moves through a desire-laden landscape of mansions, resorts, beaches and clubs, Rick grapples over complicated relationships with his brother (Wes Bentley) and father (Brian Dennehy). His quest to break the spell of his disenchantment takes him on a series of adventures with six alluring women: rebellious Della (Imogen Poots); his physician ex-wife, Nancy (Cate Blanchett); a serene model Helen (Freida Pinto); a woman he wronged in the past Elizabeth (Natalie Portman); a spirited, playful stripper Karen (Teresa Palmer); and an innocent Isabel (Isabel Lucas), who helps him see a way forward. Rick moves in a daze through a strange and overwhelming dreamscape -- but can he wake up to the beauty, humanity and rhythms of life around him? The deeper he searches, the more the journey becomes his destination. The 7th film from director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life), Knight of Cups (the title refers to the Tarot card depicting a romantic adventurer guided by his emotions) offers both a vision of modern life and an intensely personal experience of memory, family, and love. Knight of Cups is produced by Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green and Ken Kao. Prominent crew includes cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman), production designer Jack Fisk, costume designer Jacqueline West, and composer Hanan Townshend (To The Wonder). The film's ensemble cast also includes Antonio Banderas, Cherry Jones and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

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Cast

Natalie Portman
as Elizabeth
Peter Matthiessen
as Christopher
Armin Mueller-Stahl
as Fr. Zeitlinger
Rick Hess
as Agent #2
Jamie Harris
as Burglar
Lawrence Jackson
as Burglar #2
Bruce Wagner
as Bud Wiggins
Fabio
as Himself
Danny Strong
as Danny Strong
Joerg Widmer
as Photographer
Kelly Cutrone
as Model Agency Woman
Alpha Takahashi
as Japanese Girl #1
Slavitza Jovan
as Tarot Card Reader
Yumi Mizui
as Japanese Girl #2
Thomas Barnes
as Dr. Barnes
Isis Alize
as Barbie
Janette Roderick
as Weightlifter
Leo Vendedda
as Burn Victim #1
David Joseph Salamida
as Burn Victim #2
Melissa Haro
as Model #1
Sarah Kaite Coughlan
as Party Goer #1
Alana Marie
as Photo Studio Model
Miranda Jewel
as Party Goer #2
Paula Lema
as January
Christie Beran
as Vegas Pretty Girl
Sara Mohr
as Dancer #2
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Critic Reviews for Knight of Cups

All Critics (145) | Top Critics (42)

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

Full Review… | May 26, 2016
The New Republic
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 30, 2016
The Atlantic
Top Critic

This is all simply Malick being Malick - you're either on his wavelength or you're not.

Full Review… | March 18, 2016
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 17, 2016
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Malick has moved from self-discovery to self-affirmation; he knows exactly what he's looking for, and Knight of Cups, for all its splendor, made me wish that he could take a swig and forget.

Full Review… | March 11, 2016
Slate
Top Critic

Taken as a straightforward movie, "Knight of Cups" is an indecipherable mess. Taken as a piece of nonlinear visual poetry, "Knight of Cups" is still an indecipherable mess.

Full Review… | March 11, 2016
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Knight of Cups

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 Drufke
Thomas Drufke

Super Reviewer

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 Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Malick throws up a tale of disillusionment and disconnection and ultimately succeeds in disillusioning, disconnecting the viewer. Filmed using practically every popular L.A. shooting locale (every friggen one!) and using nothing but a shoulder level fish eye lens (were there no other cameras in Los Angeles, film capital of the world?), characters wander about in and out of scenes, sometimes looking at one another but mostly gazing into the distance pensively. "Oh look, there's a face I recognize, a movie star. Who is it?" But they're already gone, their character's point in this festival of mumbled whispering as lost as you are no doubt apt to be.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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