If you’re not on that Terrence Malick tip yet, get woke. Dude’s been making some of the most aesthetically beautiful (albeit loooong) films in the business for the better part of the last four decades—Tree of Life, Badlands, The Thin Red Line, etc. With the release of his latest project Knight of Cups, which made our Most Anticipated Movies of 2016 list, there’s a lot more of that rich cinematic experience for which Malick has made a name for himself.
Starring Christian Bale as its meta-protagonist, the film follows screenwriter Rick as he attempts to navigate a heavy mid-life crisis amid the excess of Hollywood and the recent death of his brother. It’s dubbed by a stream-of-consciousness narrative from its leads and Rick’s many love interests—who include Cate Blanchett, Freida Pinto, Imogen Poots, Isabel Lucas, Natalie Portman, and Teresa Palmer—and has all the requisite makings of a solid mind-bender, full of substance abuse, strippers, round-the-clock partying, and a whole hell of a lot of “what am I even doing with my life?” existentialism. Panning and POV shots give this flick an extra dose of perceived anxiety.
Is this a movie about Terrence Malick by Terrence Malick? To some degree, probably. Does it make you feel at times that you’re trapped in a k-hole? Yes. This is a movie that'll give you perceived anxiety on some Gaspar Noé-level shit. It's a flashback-inducing nightmare. But is it a gorgeous film worth spending your lunch money on a ticket? Absolutely. And before or after you take the jump into Malick’s manic world in Knight of Cups, we’ve got you covered with a few other mind-bending films that kind of make you feel like you’re tripping by proxy.