Knight of Cups continues Malick's recent trend of shedding extraneous plot and narrative to focus on emotions, thoughts and memories brought forward in his trademark fragmented visual and aural style. It, like his other films, is about age old universal themes, in this case the quest for enlightenment and the paradox of beauty. The sermon in the movie says that our now imperfect soul gets a taste of the higher existence it once knew whenever it is confronted with beauty, and so Rick immerses himself in all the beautiful sensual pleasures in the modern Babylon of LA. He is quite literally submerged all the time in ephemeral worldly pleasures, yet he still finds his life empty and devoid of any higher purpose and like his soul longing for transcendental gratification, he is always by the end again quite literally looking upwards to the heavens for a higher meaning. The movie is an impressionistic retelling of his search for God, the Wonder, nirvana, call it whatever - any metaphysical peak that will give his hollow life meaning. But at the end he realizes that the journey itself is the answer to his existential quest, not the means, and the nourishment for the shadow of perfection his anguished soul seeks. Knight of Cups is not just any "story" movie, but a sweeping visual symphony of the search for spirituality in an increasingly materialist world.
I wouldn't say it's a bad film but it's definitely not a very good one. Easily his weakest. It has moments and there's a damn good stretch for about half an hour fairly early on (with that stuff at the party) but yeah it felt like a wasted opportunity. Too much of the same. One of his only movies where the style was pretty much in line with his last movie. It's a shame.
no, I think The New World is one of the best films I've ever seen. Also, why would I care what Malick thinks of his films? Just because Welles thought The Trial was his best movie doesn't mean that I have to.
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