'A Hidden Life' Trailer: Terrence Malick Returns To World War II

One of Terrence Malick's best films is The Thin Red Line, a searing existential drama set against the backdrop of World War II. The acclaimed filmmaker returns to that era with his latest, A Hidden Life. But this is no mere Thin Red Line repeat. A Hidden Life looks to be something much different – while still maintaining those Malick tropes many have come to love (and loathe). Watch the A Hidden Life trailer below.

A Hidden Life Trailer 

I remain a Terrence Malick fan, but I'll freely admit that I haven't really liked one of his movies since Tree of Life. After Tree of Life, Malick decided to get even more abstract and unwieldy, crafting shapeless tone poems with no real structure (or script). To be clear, the movies looked amazing. But there was something lacking.

Which is why A Hidden Life looks so exciting. Word on the street is that Malick has finally returned to narrative storytelling with his latest, and it's clear from this (gorgeous) trailer that the director isn't just recycling the same material he covered in To the WonderKnight of Cups and Song to Song – his three most recent flicks that all feel like one long impressionistic film. And this trailer certainly makes an impression. Here's the synopsis:

Based on real events, from visionary writer-director Terrence Malick, A HIDDEN LIFE is the story of an unsung hero, Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. When the Austrian peasant farmer is faced with the threat of execution for treason, it is his unwavering faith and his love for his wife Fani and children that keeps his spirit alive.

Jason Gorber reviewed A Hidden Life for /Film at Cannes this year and wrote that the film definitely brings Malick back to more traditional narrative filmmaking...but it also stretches on too long:

In most ways that count, this is a return to form for Malick, at least the post-Days of Heaven form where he cares less about concision than he does his rambling, ruminative meanderings. There's more of a narrative hook here than normal (even if stretched butter-on-toast thin over three hours) that people will be able to embrace his quirks without feeling lost among the metaphysical clutter. A Hidden Life is beautiful, overlong and confounding, much like most of Malick's films, and as such this is a film that will certain move many, bore even more, and be ignored by an even larger group than both combined.

A Hidden Life opens December 13, 2019.