Knight of Cups is a 2015 American experimental drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick and produced by Nicolas Gonda, Sarah Green and Ken Kao. The film features an ensemble cast, starring Christian Bale as the central character.
Loosely inspired by and at times quoting directly from the 1678 Christian allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, the Acts of Thomas passage The Hymn of the Pearl, and Suhrawardi’s A Tale of the Western Exile, the film follows depressed Los Angeles screenwriter Rick (Christian Bale) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self via adventures with colorful figures, identified by eight tarot cards.
After over two years in post-production, the film premiered in the main competition section at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 8, 2015 to mixed reviews. The film was released in the United States on March 4, 2016 by Broad Green Pictures to further mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike.
Rick is a film screenwriter living in Los Angeles, California. While he’s successful in his career, his life feels empty. Haunted by the death of one brother and the dire circumstances of the other, he finds temporary solace in the Hollywood excess that defines his existence. Women provide a distraction to the daily pain he must endure, and every encounter that comes his way brings him closer to finding his place in the world.
The film is divided into eight chapters (each named after a tarot card, except for the final chapter Freedom), plus a prologue, each loosely based around the central character’s relationship with somebody in his life:
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