Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight of Cups’ Gets a Long Synopsis and a Runtime

I know there are plenty of people out there who like Terrence Malick, even if I can’t stand his films. So, for all you folks itching to see Knight of Cups, I have a little present for you: a long synopsis! For some, the original, short synopsis just wasn’t enough. They need more words to satisfy their anticipation. Probably more words than will actually be spoken in the film.

Rick is a slave to the Hollywood system. He is addicted to success but simultaneously despairs at the emptiness of his life. He is at home in a world of illusions but seeks real life. Like the tarot card of the title, Rick is easily bored and needs outside stimulation. But the Knight of Cups is also an artist, a romantic and an adventurer.

In Terrence Malick’s seventh film a gliding camera once again accompanies a tormented hero on his search for meaning. Once again a voiceover is laid over images which also seek their own authenticity. And once again Malick seems to put the world out of joint. His symphonic flow of images contrasts cold, functional architecture with the ageless beauty of nature. Rick’s internal monologue coalesces with the voices of the women who cross his path, women who represent different principles in life: while one lives in the real world, the other embodies beauty and sensuality. Which path will Rick choose? In the city of angels and the desert that surrounds it, will he find his own way?

I love how many times they use “once again” in that synopsis. It basically is saying, “You’re not getting anything new here.” What is a little more encouraging is that the film will run 118 minutes, his second in a row under two hours. Though, if this turns out to be as bad as To the Wonder… Oh, boy…

Producer Ken Kao, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, described the movie as, “stream-of-consciousness film,” and said “[Malick] was very frustrated by,” it.

I think my favorite quote about the movie has to come from Antonio Banderas. I think it is emblematic of how Malick really does not know what he is doing.

I arrived to the set and basically what [Malick] said to me, ‘Antonio, we didn’t send you a script because we don’t have a script and so this monologue that I gave you,’ which literally didn’t make sense whatsoever, ‘I’m gonna shoot it in nine different locations and I’m gonna just improvise with you, and I’m gonna send you something that I call torpedoes.’ And these torpedoes, they were people that came in the middle of the monologue and started improvising with me. He sent me a beautiful woman, he sent me an old lady, he sent me a bunch of three guys that are rappers. I ended up in a pool with three ladies with my tuxedo.

Yeah. A bit of a mess. Well, the film starring Christian Bale will make its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival this month. We’ll see what the word is.


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