A Hidden Life – BFI Film Festival Review

Terrence Malick sure is curious. He’s one of those maverick filmmakers that really blossomed during the 1970s, and hasn’t since admittedly been making lots of films (although that seems to be changing!). But, also factoring in his spiritual directorial style, and minimal public presence (if any 😉), it all helps make his latest, A Hidden Life, fairly exciting.
 
And this certainly pays off. His last film, Song To Song, suffered from indecisively switching between spirituality and character drama. Whereas this feels a lot more in-tune with itself, balanced. It’s also based on a true story, set in Austria during World War Two where Franz Jagerstatter, a farmer, refuses to fight for the Nazis and subsequently gets imprisoned. You don’t feel like it’s a true character piece but given how the cinematography and editing go pretty seamlessly hand-in-hand with underlying an unfortunate price of maintaining your “spiritual integrity” during such a horrific time, it’s quite interesting. Therefore, it also marks itself out as a unique, but no less horrifying, WW2 film.
 
Now I do have one particular criticism. Stretched out over about three hours, as it orients itself around one character but doesn’t absolutely go too deep, it starts feeling a bit repetitive. On the whole though, this feels like Malick getting back on form. Recommended!

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