Review: A Hidden Life

Title: A Hidden Life
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Terrence Malick
Starring: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Maria Simon
Runtime: 2 hrs 54 mins

What It Is: Franz (Diehl) is an Austrian farmer and a conscientious objector. He refuses to fight for the Nazis during World War II. This has caused an obvious rift from various groups in his small village. Franz begins to notice a change in the villagers towards the Nazi’s fascist leanings. Franz’s only real desire is to live his life free of tyranny. Where he and his wife Fani (Pachner) can go back to the Austria they love and remember.

What We Think: I am notoriously not a fan of Malick’s recent works. I think Tree of Life is an overrated slog. I HATED Knight of Cups and Song to Song. Some of the issues that plagued those are here. The needless voice over. The meandering camera content with cinematography porn. However! Here there’s more substance and more narrative and it’s all very well done. Narratively it’s still foggy and a bit of a mess. I think the leads here are fabulous and that there’s a world created. One we understand. This is much better from Malick. Now if only he’d cut down on just a few more Malickisms.

Our Grade: C-, Well…he didn’t fail and that says something. This is too slow and too boring and too long for me to recommend this to the masses. I found the overall presentation a step up. Malick needs to really cut out the voiceover. It strips away from the dialogue. It makes it far less impactful. Having characters speak their thoughts to one and another rather than this droning inner monologue is far more effective. Don’t see this unless you want some gorgeous visuals to look at. In that is where this shines.

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