Unless you’re a devoted fan of his type of film making director Terrance
Malik’s movies are always a hard watch. His use of cinematography with long
lingering shots, normally of peoples’ faces, tend to drag his movies out to
inordinate lengths. Why tells a story in 90 minutes when I can keep you in
a cinema for nearly 3 hours seems to be his moto.
Sadly “A Hidden Life” sticks to Malik’s tried and tested formula and at
nearly 3 hours long it becomes something of an endurance test.
“A Hidden Life” tells the true story of Franz Jagerstatter (August Diehl),
a devoted catholic, farmer and father of three children who refused to
swear an allegiance to Adolph Hitler after he was conscripted into the
German army during World War II. For his defiance Jagerstatter was thrown
into prison where he suffered terribly at the hands of the Nazis.
Underneath the bloated running time there’s an interesting story to be told
and in the hands of a director who knew when to say cut “A Hidden Life”
might have been worth seeing. Sadly however in the hands of Malik it just
becomes a long hard slog that won’t convert any new comers to his
self-indulgent way of making movies.