One of the best films I saw in 2015, and I know plenty of folks don't get it. Let's be clear: it may be devoid of 'story' but it certainly isn't devoid of narrative. 'Storytelling' is often called a necessary ingredient for Films--it's not. One thing cinema can do better than most arts is place you in the mind of the Being at the center. This work is an embodiment of empathic cinema. Genius. 'Story' is best for TV.
Enjoying the film is a matter of patience, about how long anyone can going along with Bale on this shapeless self-discovering journey?! It left me with mixed feelings at the end, There are moments I am deeply connected with, but it was not easy hanging around with a silent man alongside land/sea/cityscapes and modern structures(over-repeated locations) for 2hrs.
Such is the poetry of motion. Is the prince asleep? Has he lost his memory of meaning? Or is he newly awakened? And has he now realized how he is to move in this world? "We're not leading the lives we are meant for... we're meant for something else." Are we the prince? Are we meant for something else? Such is the poetry of motion.
At the age of thirty, a man leaves a superficial life to seek deeper fulfillment. With virtuosity, Terence MALICK makes us share his visions and his quest. == A ses trente ans, un homme s'éloigne d'une vie superficielle pour chercher à s'accomplir vraiment. Avec virtuosité, Terence MALICK nous fait partager ses visions & sa quête. Christian BALE, Cate BLANCHETT, Nathalie PORTMAN, Brian DENNEHY, Antonio BANDERAS 3,5/5
Malick tells the story not just of a man, but of the existence of his soul. The film overlays imposing visuals capturing the isolation, loneliness, and vagrancy of a physical body and space with voice over techniques that create a cinematic exploration of modern existence. The opposition of voices subjectively confiding in some abstract presence, and the camera capturing the corporeal and objective is illuminating.
Malick reaches for the reflective poetry of Tarkovsky, the gnomic philosophy of association of late-Godard & the dream-play of Angelopoulos, but is hampered by the attention span of Michael Bay. Imagery is constant & unrelenting; too brief & vague to make an impression or to crystallise into something more profound. The portrait of decadence & the ennui of excess is derivative of earlier masters, Fellini & Antonioni.
2.5. I may have a greater appreciation for this after more distance or upon a rewatch. If I can figure out why this necessarily had to be the story of a wealthy Hollywood screenwriter for reasons that aren't trite or just lazy self insert on Malick's part, I think I'll like it much more. I also would need to get past the idea that it's somewhat misogynistic in a really narcissistic way. The tone is strong, though.
Knight of Cups is pretentious, hard to digest, and repetitive; and despite all of that, there is a clear vision and some stunning cinematography. Were it not handled by the direction of Malick it'd easily be unwatchable. I can see the artistic value that some have praised it for, but I'm closer to the side of never feeling the need to watch this again.
Terrence Malick takes us for a voyage of self-discovery. It's a shame he doesn't know himself either. The visual poetry of "Tree of Life" is there, certainly, but with so little narrative returns, we discover ourselves in a deep sea of non-linear madness. Malick either has too much to say or nothing at all. Either way, most people will be hard pressed to even try to explore the film. Thank god for Lubezki.
Improvisation is great for comedy. Not so much for drama. While Bale is content to do little, it makes his partners overcompensate and you get bad acting. Creating a structure of Tarot Cards/Pilgrim's Progress around it does not improve the content. His life is everything you want, but absolutely devoid of any meaning. Unfortunately, Malick's gone from elegiac to frenetic, and so it all adds up to less than zero.