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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I Remain Fatigued by Terrence Malick Films

Filmmaker Terrence Malick's latest film, KNIGHT OF CUPS, hit theaters last Friday and, from my vantage point, has been received with nearly deafening silence. Kinda funny considering how curiously devout his fanbase has always been. What's even more interesting is the disparate response of this film versus 2011's The Tree of Life and 2012's To The Wonder--two films cut from the same indulgent fabric that has now deemed unsuitable as art.

My, have the tables turned.

Perhaps people are finally realizing Malick's fetish for bombastic mythology and themes. Whatever the case, it's caught up to him. So, what's KNIGHT OF CUPS about? Well, what any Malick film is about these days--weeping existentialism through a pixelated white male gaze. It's exhausting to have to sit through another narrative like this. I suppose there are some who can connect with this perspective, but I see no universality here. The quiet pensiveness Malick infuses in every character only exudes vapidity--not intrigue. I don't wish to learn anything about these characters, and it's almost like Malick doesn't care whether I do. Basically, it's him j**king off for two hours (the audacity of two hours) without ever finishing. How deeply unsatisfying.

I'd be more into KNIGHT OF CUPS had it been a cohesive study of the human spirit, with actual character development that draws you into their struggles, desires and circumstances. Christian Bale running from one woman to the next in a vacant gaze is just not cutting it. And seriously, Christian Bale? He's the wrong kind of actor to portray fragility in any form. Paired with Cate Blanchett, Freida Pinto and Natalie Portman--actresses who are no stranger to vulnerable characters--further illustrated the awkward mismatch. It's like they acting in a completely different film than Bale (still one that you also don't want to watch, but at least are interested enough to note it).

I just need a break from Malick.

KNIGHT OF CUPS is now in theaters.

Rating: D (* out of *****)


Brittani Burnham said...

I always agree with you when it comes to Malick. I tried, damn it. I tried to like his films like so many do. But I can't. I'm not opposed to abstract or fever dream type sequences, but I hate it when I see that and know that deep down, a better story could've been told.

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