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.
Just as he did with 2008’s The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky—together with his carefully chosen creative team—has constructed a fascinating world in which plays out a captivating psychological drama. Whereas his previous film unfolded in the testosterone-fuelled environment of professional wrestling, Black Swan’s setting is the polar opposite realm of the ballerina. But that’s not to say the character study contained within is any less powerful; indeed, this tale of ambition, awakening and desire has just as much impact.