Rakestraw’s review published on Letterboxd:
The amount of tolerance that I’ve possessed over the years in regards to Terrence Malick’s schtick as atrophied substantially while sitting through the “experiences” of To The Wonder and, now, Knight of Cups. Perhaps if there resided a spiritual side within my framework would I be more attuned to his philosophical posings, but I’m starting to think that if I did, indeed, possess something that in any way resembled a spiritual side I would still be flusterpissed by his cockamamie ruminations.
I’m generally on-board with the fragmented nature of his “narratives”, or the fact that they unravel in a semi-dreamworld of memories and impressionistic renderings of realities, my intense dislike stems from the fact that there appears to be no real examination and/or exploration of any of the themes that he bandies about within the film. Sure, these faint themes have a lacquer of solemnity and seriousness in regards to surface appearances yet the attempts at introspection that are attached are sorely disconnected and poorly-constructed.
Malick offers nothing; he says nothing, plenty is said yet no actual substance inhabits these words, nothing but a series of vacant philosophical musings delivered in hushed tones of whisper masquerading as profundity behind a veil of fragmentation, posited thoughts dissipating before the realization of the vacancy behind the posited thought trail is met only to be replaced by another vapid line of dialogue. These stunted verbalizations give the appearance/promise of insight through their cryptic and obscured nature but upon further review they reveal themselves as nothing more than unchallenging/undemanding ornaments of speech. They contain, within them, an infinite number of thought paths, the most of which will occupy your time arriving at the destination of what do you mean? or why would you ask that?. They exist as rabbit-hole distractions to mask the vapidity of their manufacture.