Knight of Cups ★★★★★

Terrence Malick is a filmmaker trying to say things in a world becoming too jaded and deaf for his style of voice. "Knight of Cups," thrashed and tossed away by critics and audiences, is a tone poem about a pilgrim in a gilded life.

Like his previous meditation on love and loss, "To The Wonder," this is a film that can't be approached expecting a mainstream narrative, it needs to be approached the way you would music. Malick wants to EVOKE and EXPRESS from a very deep place through images, editing, music and tone. As the critic Scout Tafoya suspects, Malick has been suffering, either by observing the world or revisiting his own experiences and memories.

"Knight of Cups" feels like a filmmaker trying to urgently exorcise from himself reflections and wounds. It is a stream of consciousness reflection of the Western world as it stands today, minted in dreams of luxury, full of pilgrims looking for love while being vapid, mistaking material gains for personal worth. Other films have made the same point with a lot of flash and high volume, but Malick is a poet, and in an age lacking poetry, his films frustrate audiences looking for a quick fix.