CAN you imagine more of a 'first world problem' than a movie star trying to find himself through a series of flings?

Knight of Cups sees Christian Bale play Rick, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, who is seeking meaning in his life as he basically wanders around and hooks up with beautiful women.

Rich, famous, successful – it will be probably be hard for most viewers to relate to Rick's 'problems'.

But maybe director Terrence Malick's point is that any of us can feel lost and alone whatever background we come from and it could also be seen as a reflection on how shallow Hollywood life can be.

Regardless, poetic soundbites and powerful imagery evoking existential angst cannot disguise the fact that this film lacks real substance.

Malick's films are always beautifully shot and often poignant, moving, even spellbinding.

But more recently they have also been described as dense, inpenetrable and pretentious, polarizing fans and critics.

Knight of Cups certainly falls into the latter category.

Christian Bale's character Rick plods around beaches and movie sets, drifts through parties, drives down vast open roads in his sports car, argues with his family and navigates his way through flings, affairs and failed relationships.

You only experience this in a very distant, abstract way with Rick barely saying a word. You learn more about him from the film's synopsis than you do from this two-hour slog.

There is no character development, no narrative pay-off whatsoever, nothing to warrant your patience.

Even Malick's most devoted fans may struggle with this one.

Knight of Cups is about two hours long but it could be half an hour or four hours because there is no structure to dictate its form.

It looks incredible and promotes film as an art form but with seemingly random images interspersed between the almost non-existent plot, that is not enough.

Malick is taking longer and longer to say less and less.

RATING: 4/10