Slow-moving narrative will reward patient viewers

There’s no denying the beautiful and emotional strength of Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life.”  But at nearly three hours in length, the divisive auteur’s best film since 2011’s “The Tree of Life” will still try viewer patience. 

“A Hidden Life” tracks the real-life story of Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter’s refusal to fight for the Nazis in World War II. As a conscientious objector, Jägerstätter (played by August Diehl) was arrested and held in prison until he was tried and convicted. His sincere beliefs did not convince the Nazi-run government to stay his execution in 1943. Although not covered in the film, the Catholic Church later granted him beatification.

You either love or hate filmmaker Malick’s approach to story-telling with his camera. Bursting onto the scene in 1973 with “Badlands” followed in 1978 by “Days of Heaven,” he didn’t make another film for 20 years, finally, giving us “The Thin Red Line.” But Malick has become more and more prolific since 2011’s “The Tree of Life.” 

Read Jonathan’s full review online and in print in the Times-Herald:

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