With the Berlin International Film Festival premiere less than a week away — the movie will first screen for press on Sunday, February 8th — more and more details are being rolled out about Terrence Malick's "Knight Of Cups." Over the weekend, producers described the latest from Malick as a “stream-of-consciousness film,” which sounds about right. But there is a plot of sorts, hazy as it is, with the director tackling Hollywood and celebrity excess, with of course, lots of golden hour horizon gazing. And after the somewhat more esoteric short synopsis, a much longer one has been unveiled, painting a clearer picture about the movie. Here you go:
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?
So, is this a big long supercut of Christian Bale trying to reconcile a life of beauty and women everywhere with the spiritual and soulful? Sounds like it, but let's hope there's more thematic subtext than aren't-material-things-and-casual-sex-totally-empty. At least Malick will keep things relatively brief — the official runtime for the flick is 118 minutes, making it his second movie in a row under two hours, following "To The Wonder."