Terrence Malick’s Sex-Fueled Fever Dream

The enigmatic director returns with the sexually charged “Knight of Cups.”

After taking two decades to follow up his acclaimed 1978 film “Days of Heaven” with the elegiac World War II epic “The Thin Red Line,” the critically adored director Terrence Malick has recently entered the most productive phase in his career with a remarkable series of highly personal films. “The Tree of Life“ (2011) loosely explored his childhood, and 2012’s “To the Wonder“ mirrored the dissolution of his second marriage.

Later this year, Malick will release the sexually charged “Knight of Cups.” Starring Christian Bale, it’s the story of a disaffected screenwriter dealing with a life of vanity and excess, and torn between the memories of Natalie Portman, Freida Pinto, and Cate Blanchett. The trailer itself is enough to bring on seizures, as Bale wanders dazedly through a trippy Los Angeles fever dream brimming with kinky sex, drugs, and existential torment. Malick has already shot another film, which stars Ryan Gosling and explores the music scene in Austin, where Malick now lives. He also has an IMAX documentary on the way that’s being billed as a “celebration of the universe, displaying the whole of time.” The man Hollywood nearly forgot has become one of its busiest auteurs. It’s no surprise—the guy’s got some serious catching up to do.

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