Get a personalised letter from Santa

Knight of Cups, film review: ‘How did Terrence Malick end up making this drivel?’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 May 2016

Natalie Portman and Christian Bale star in Knight of Cups. Picture: Melinda Sue Gordon

Natalie Portman and Christian Bale star in Knight of Cups. Picture: Melinda Sue Gordon

© Dogwood Pictures, LLC

A Knight of Cups, who needs one?

Especially as, this being a Terrence Malick film, it’s going to be a Long Knight of the Cups – a long, aimless, unbearably precious, two hours of Christian Bale looking at stuff, wistfully.

Or the back of his head walking towards something, possibly the sea. Or falling in and out of love with very beautiful, quite tall, but always very thin, women, in sleek, empty, modern rooms.

It’s like an epic perfume advert that has forgotten what the product is.

Bale is a disenchanted Hollywood scriptwriter, looking to heal his wounds: the ex-wife (Blanchett), the fractious family relationships, the vacuous Hollywood parties.

His life is desolate, but aspirationally desolate.

Sure, you’ve got problems – but not like these beautiful people have problems.

They’re so desolate they can’t even express it with their mouths; everybody communicates through poetic voiceovers that entwine into a single stream-of-conscious banality - many voices but with the same pretentiousness.

There are a few homeless people and burns victims thrown into the mix, to show Malick’s inclusivity, but the poor don’t get to have their own voiceover.

Malick’s films have explored history and the universe; he has shot miles and miles of film, used every other star in Hollywood, and spent years editing his footage trying to locate his pearl of wisdom.

He was never much of a story-teller but since Tree of Life, he has abandoned even the pretence of a plot in favour of a floaty, eavesdropping style – hints and slithers of events flowing past us in a beautiful blur.

How did a maker of great film end up making this drivel?

Malick seems to be the proof of my mother’s chastisement that “you can be too clever”.

He is the wise man who thought so hard he became the Fool. A depressing fool at that.

After a life-long search for knowledge and meaning, all he has to show for it is nothing, absolutely nothing.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 17:22

England boss Gareth Southgate has hailed Harry Kane after the Spurs forward grabbed a late winner to send the impressive Three Lions through to the UEFA Nations League finals.

Yesterday, 16:15

England hosted Croatia at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.

Yesterday, 16:09

Arsenal maintained their 100 per cent FA WSL record with a 4-0 win over Everton in Southport.

Yesterday, 15:58

England hosted Croatia at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s PLAYER RATINGS

Yesterday, 15:51

Hendon made their longest ever League trip, to Tiverton on Saturday, and returned to London with a point from a goalless stalemate.

Yesterday, 13:01

Wingate & Finchley endured a frustrating afternoon at Nyewood Lane after slipping to defeat to Bognor Regis Town – despite twice taking the lead either side of the break.

Yesterday, 10:48

Arsenal want to be part of any discussions on a future European Super League, but deny they would break away from the Premier League it a new competition comes to fruition.

Yesterday, 10:31

Great Britain’s women were defeated 2-0 by Australia in their second match at the FIH Women’s Champions Trophy in China.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now