It would seem that as Terrence Malick has increased his workflow, some of the goodwill he’s had for decades has slightly eroded. The director’s latest effort “To The Wonder” recently played both Venice and TIFF where it mostly received unenthusiastic notices, with many tiring of his let’s-go-explore-the-wheatfields style. And it’s not a surprise it’s still without a U.S. distribution deal. As for us, our man in Venice dug the film and this writer saw it in Toronto and, though it’s problematic, found much to digest in the movie that, to the viewer willing to look past the surface, asks a lot of big questions. In particular, how we can share or experience love in a world abandoned by God. Weighty stuff. But anyway, Malick is already on to his next two films, and a very small morsel of info concerning “Knight Of Cups” has emerged.
Before we get to that, you might remember that earlier this year a very brief logline (that was soon scrubbed) appeared for the movie formerly titled “Lawless” that described it as “two intersecting love triangles. It is a story of sexual obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.” And “Knight Of Cups” looks to be a companion piece of sorts, as earlier this month it was reported that the film is set against the backdrop of the movie business. And a new logline on production company FilmNation‘s website teases what it will be about: “The Knight of Cups is a story of a man, temptations, celebrity, and excess.” Um, okay then.
As per usual, who knows how Malick’s film, which the company says is in post-production, will actually turn out. Maybe it will continue down the same path as “To The Wonder” and “The Tree Of Life” and feature minimal dialogue, and tons of voiceover. But we really hope both “Knight Of Cups” and the untitled movie — which shoots this fall — find Malick going into a new stylistic direction. But it’s really his unpredictability that makes his films so compelling, and really, no one could have guessed the tone or structure of “To The Wonder” until it finally unspooled.
Starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Isabel Lucas, with Antonio Banderas, Wes Bentley, Imogen Poots, Freida Pinto, Teresa Palmer, Ryan O’Neal, Jason Clarke, Joel Kinnaman and Shea Whigham among others, all dropping by the set, who knows who will make the final cut. Of course, don’t ask about release dates or distribution, because Malick will be done when he’s good and ready.