Terrence Malick’s Knight Of Cups operates in several different genres: it is part confessional, part Hollywood insider, part midlife crisis, part family melodrama, and – wait – there’s more. It finds Christian Bale’s screenwriter drifting back through his memories to revisit former romances and address his fractious relationship with his brother and father. “All those years, living the life of someone I didn’t know,” intones Bale’s Rick in voiceover.
At times, Knight Of Cups resembles a mix between Californication and Grand Designs, as Bale makes his way through a lot of wafty curtains. There is also a lot of walking along the surf on deserted Malibu beaches, accompanied by a former paramour – perhaps his ex-wife (Cate Blanchett) or mistress (Natalie Portman). Admittedly, Malick’s elusive, metaphorical wanderings aren’t to everybody’s taste and Knight Of Cups certainly pushes the abstract qualities of Malick’s recent films to their extreme. But find the film’s pulse and you will be seduced by its meandering beauty.