Knight of Cups ★★★

I’ve tried. Guess you can count me among those who just can’t get into Terrence Malick’s autobiographical dramas of late. Like To the Wonder, and Tree of Life before that, Knight of Cups garners not much more than a shrug from me. He has taken a very personal approach to his art recently, and I can admire that, but his style has grown a bit repetitive and frustratingly stale. It’s borderline self-parody, really, and it fails to engage me at an emotional level. It’s so beautiful to look at, I’ll give it that, though. Malick has done a bang up job making LA appear so much pristine than it really is. The film totally abandons traditional narrative flow in favor of visual storytelling, and it’s even more abstract than To the Wonder thanks to its Fellini-esque self-portrait and surrealism. I also think that former Bruce Wayne, Christian Bale—the film’s Marcello Mastroianni, complete with a harem of Hollywood actresses at his disposal—makes for a better Malickian lead than Ben Affleck.