As a filmmaker, Darren Aronofsky has never been one to shy away from the extremes of human behaviour, whether exploring its darkest heart, exposing its deepest psychosis or celebrating its brightest achievements. His latest, mother!, is thematically similar to his Oscar-winning Black Swan, in that it embraces both the lure and lunacy of artistic ambition. Whereas Black Swan was a beguiling, beautifully crafted psychological drama, however, this is an infuriating exercise of cacophonous style over substance.
Combining auteur filmmaking Terence Malick with powerhouse performers Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman should, in theory, have resulted in cinematic fireworks. Instead, Knight of Cups is a damp squib, its arresting visuals an artistic smokescreen for a barely-there narrative that is unoriginal, insipid and downright alarming in its treatment of women.
Unravelling in the familiar, close quarters of a Victorian London conversion, the directorial debut of writer David Farr (Hanna, TV’s The Night Manager) aims for the claustrophobic chills of Rosemary’s Baby, but comes closer to the outlandish bunny boiler camp of Fatal Attraction.