Knight of Cups ★★★★

Second viewing.

Highs get higher (certain idelible images like that otherworldly parking garage, and those occasional moments when we seem to see a narrative playing out instead of just reflected upon); the lows lower (poor Brian Dennehey); the sledgehammer visual metaphors more jarring; the subtler moments more affecting.

I love this movie more, and I'm even more frustrated with it.

The priest's wisdom (delivered so delicately by Armin Mueller-Stahl) flares out like a beacon through the haze of melancholy and moping.

Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett manage to find complex characters in this sprawling, meandering minimalistic narrative — even more than Christian Bale does. They are allowed story arcs.

But I won't return for the stories or the voice overs. I'll come back for the imagery, which is such a free-associative dream that we can find a new way through every time, as if it is bound together by a weave of inquiries as complex as those entangled L.A. freeways near the airport that the cameras here love so much.

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