Knight of Cups ★★★

A lot going on here! It's as if some conventional Hollywood insider melodrama, oozing with love affairs and faux-La Dolce Vita bullshit, had been smashed into a million pieces then glued back together into a radical image collage. Knight of Cups is a wild ride: all subjective audio and diaphanous curtains and GoPros cannonballing into models' swimming pools. Full of pain—a kind that's undirected and evanescent. Christian Bale mopes through it all as a suit-clad cipher, spiritually crisis-ridden, muttering in New Testament-inflected voiceover. (The dense symbolism blends Christ with tarot in a way that I'm sure was as crucial for its author as it is bewildering for me.) Malick's style is sui generis; his esotericism beguiling; but even the most idiosyncratic artist can be still be susceptible to cliché. A wild, frustrating ride.

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