- From 1973 to 2011 Malick made only five films—all of them either outright masterpieces or very close to the border—and all were rather simple narratives set in the past. Malick then made three more modern day films : To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, Song of Song. These were no longer historical epics (it is different shooting a Sonic chain restaurant than a Austrian Mountain landscape with mist rising up)— they had a hint of Antonioni’s ennui territory (this is description, not a criticism). Well…Malick is back to a period piece (World War II, set in Austria) and to film that has some semblance of a narrative (again, description—I love Antonioni’s ennui-infused films). The bones of the narrative here is the story of a martyr- part Christ’s story (Malick has been here before with The Thin Red Line), part Joan of Arc—persecution for beliefs.
- Fully a Malick film and he is one cinema’s great artists– a tone poem collage of awe-inspiring beautiful photography— vistas and landscapes, natural light (though there’s certainly not a dependency on his trademark magic hour here), an untethered camera (most of the dialogue is delivered via voice-over (the wife, the mother both get some voice over as well) to keep the camera free), montage (almost like an entire film of Ozu pillow shots), rhythmical, lyrical, Christian.
- Taking nothing away from the great Emmanuel Lubezki, but this is Malick’s first film since 1998 without him here and this is easily more beautiful than each of the last three Malick films (which were all Lubezki collaborations).
- Like Days of Heaven Malick is back in the tall wheat— like The Thin Red Line Malick is back with in the war as the backdrop for Malick’s moral and theological musings.
- I had a couple of small problems that I thought broke the ranks of good film form. For one, I thought the documentary footage used at a few points (the opening… then again at the 15-minute mark, and then later color home videos of Hitler) was unwarranted and should have been cut—keep us in Malick’s world (he has only done this once before in Badlands and that was a mistake as well). These are extraneous and examples of poor form. There is also just one scene of Valerie Pachner’s Fani Jägerstätter talking directing to the camera. This absolutely should have been cut. Yet another, August Diehl’s Franz Jägerstätter gets attacked in first person and we go to a first person POV for the beating- poor form.
- Their home (or nest) in the mountains is an Eden. And it is an exquisite Eden- the misty clouds in the mountains. “I thought we could build our best high up in the trees”. Like all of Malick’s films there is a joyful frivolity to these scenes, here, on the hillside with the wonderous backdrops, there is the blindfold game with his children. This Eden is short lived though, the war planes show up in the first 10 minutes of this nearly three hour film.
- Malick always has an eye on the background as well as the foreground (sometimes more so) with the clock tower building almost always in the frame here just like the massive house set piece in Days of Heaven. It is magnificent—it is L’Avventura (1960), it is Kogonada’s Columbus (2017), it is Jia Zhangke (Mountains May Depart 2015 or Ash is Purest White 2018) or Ozu in A Hen in the Wind (1948)
- The church interiors (there is a painter working there with some moral meditations of his own) are jaw-dropping as well, even the prison (with those arches) is so remarkable to look at
- Too many standalone museum piece knockouts to keep track of. One that stood out in my memory is a low angle shot in prison through the bed springs. Another is a silhouette immaculate photograph with Matthias Schoenaerts and August Diehl—it is a twin to a similar shot in Tree of Life.
- James Newton Howard score’s here is worthy of praise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QQfj-w6r6U- for the most part Malick has been sampling opera, Wagner, and classical since 1998’s The Thin Red Line
- Appreciate these films- it is rare in any artform to have something this beautiful to behold. And if that isn’t enough, to add to that it is created with such a specific dogma- it makes the achievement even rarer.
- There is a strong focus on background as well as foreground when he’s getting read his death sentence.
- It is really Malick’s first film shot in digital, Malick apparently spent almost three years editing the film
- At 174 minutes (and they just float on by) it is longer than any other Malick film
- A Must-See film- top five of the year quality
I had to watch this for a cinema appreciation class back in November and write an essay about it; the class itself was heavily politicized, surprisingly considering the extremely conservative, red, Trump-supporting area I live in, and a whole half of its length was dedicated to studying Marxism (watched films like Just Mercy that he wanted us to see because of political content alone – what an absolute fucking snoozefest; I wouldn’t wish watching that film again on my worst enemy – I know we just got done about how “boring” is bad criticism but I’ve never seen a film so insufferably sentimental, overlong and vapidly directed in my entire life. And it gets a 99% from audiences on RT because of a flood of 5-star reviews that only say “Black Lives Matter,” I’m sorry but that’s not a review, that’s a statement. We had to watch Judy too to study feminism because of Zellweger’s Oscar win – come on teacher, Little Women and Midsommar are RIGHT THERE – and it was similarly unimpressive in terms of direction) and just in general several more of the films we had to watch were not great and then I had to write full essays about them. Yeah. Didn’t help that from time-to-time the class would have to meet to have discussions about the films we watched and everybody apart from me – everybody – was the type to declare Nolan cinema’s greatest director and DiCaprio’s performance in The Wolf of Wall Street the best performance in all of film history. I feel like such an asshole like some kind of overly intellectual big-brain “I am smarter than you,” kind of guy talking about my fellow students in this way but it’s the truth.
That being said, I did love this movie and do think it’s an important entry from Malick. I would agree that it’s cinematography is on a similar level to his work with Lubezki but the film itself I don’t think is as good; The New World and The Tree of Life are more powerful (and this is a powerful film itself) and additionally are not as difficult to watch; at times I wanted to take my eyes away from the screen rather than look at it – and this is a gorgeous film – because it was a brutal experience to watch, not unlike Aguirre which I also viewed recently. I agree with your rating as HR/MS; it’s spectacular and very ambitious but I’m not sure it quite makes the line over to MS because it’s just so painful to watch and I don’t think it’s quite as essential as Malick’s other works.
I’m thinking of watching Cache and The Thin Red Line next, but not certain if I won’t put at least Cache off until later to watch it with Haneke’s other works, but I definitely need to watch The Thin Red Line to complete the 5 original Malick films but I also feel I need to revisit Badlands. After this, I’m planning to delve in deep into the post-WW2 to early 70s period. I was going to skim over this by watching only the greatest works then moving on, then to try to find some idea of where to go forward afterwards, but it’s just such a remarkable period in cinema with so many MPs and I see no need to leave just yet, and it’ll buy me time to find out the path forwards.
I hope I didn’t overwhelm too much with that first paragraph, but god, it just made me think is that really what most cinephiles are? I was expecting serious in-depth exploration of the power of cinema from that class and instead I got a real wake-up call to how rare a breed we are, us users on Cinema Archives. I feel it should be so obvious to appreciate cinema this way but I don’t know now. My vision of what makes films great didn’t waver even in the slightest during that class, and to be fair plenty of good did come out of it: at first (but not later on that’s for sure) there was some exploration of aspects like mise-en-scene, editing and usage of the camera that was very interesting, but nothing like the absolutely enlightening stuff thats written on here, and it did inspire me to enter the world of Alfonso Cuaron who was one of the teacher’s favorite directors and he’s amazing; seen his 3 MPs this century since the beginning of the class (not Gravity which I believe you lowered to a MS) and probably everyone has seen his Potter film. But god, for everything that was right in that class there was probably an order of magnitude more that was wrong. I need to stop writing because just thinking about that class is probably unhealthy. Also if what I wrote in the first paragraph is really badly organized that’s because it’s not much more than a continuous stream of thought that little actual cohesion was applied to.
TL;DR this is a great film
Last note: Since I mentioned Cache earlier do you think I should watch it now or put it off for a future investment into Haneke’s films?
@Zane- thank you for the share here. I agree with almost everything you say but keep in mind that other people are trying to get different things out of their movie watching experience. They may not be interested in art– they may be looking for an escape after a long day, or a message they agree with, etc. Some people look at movies as a business. Even my film professors in college wrote entire books and papers on movies that rarely crossed paths with what I was interested in (one I remember looked at movies for their cultural impact and yet another for religious readings, etc).
I say go for it with Cache. You can always come back to it again later. I’ve said this before but for the great films– the least important viewing is your first one. Sometimes I look at is as something I just need to get out of the way- ha.
I’m not going to contest you here; I think a lot of what I said was distaste about how the class was not the in-depth exploration of cinematic techniques that I was hoping for (and considering it is cinema “appreciation,” that it probably should be), though at times my classmates and I did have genuinely constructive discussion about cinema, but I will not waver about the professor’s method of teaching. It was a clear attempt to mend the minds of the students to his political beliefs and it was not right. An entire half of the course curriculum of a cinema appreciation class should not be dedicated to politics that half of the time aren’t even discussed in the context of film at all.
I even often look at film as an escape myself, hell I often use it to escape when I have work I’m dreading to complete, or even if I’m just bored I’ll watch a film to have something in my life. But I guess it’s really just something different. I’ve become so convinced, and rightly I believe, of the idea of film as a display of art that I just can’t understand how often people can watch a movie that’s just a story, like Toni Erdmann, and say it’s the best movie ever; you yourself have ripped on Rex Reed countless times about this tendency. It’s just not fulfilling to me. And the problem I have is not really with “getting something different out of the movie experience,” I think you may have misunderstood me, I’m talking about acting like something that is a clearly a MP is trash while a film that could barely make it into the archives is something really exceptional here. You remember the review I posted on the Midsommar page yesterday? If you forgot then here it is:
“This looks like a student film that had a budget. Also the sound is done horribly, I had to adjust my volume multiple times and had to triple the volume most of the time just to hear what the actors were saying. There’s nothing really creative about it. Its not an interesting type of weird just kind of stupid. The sex scene at the end had me cracking up but its really the only humorous part and I think unintentionally so, but its not “so bad its good” kind of camp or anything, just a really poorly done film.”
This is what I’m talking about. I don’t know. I feel I’m kinda being a bit pretentious here but stuff like this just annoys the hell out of me.
I’ll be Devil’s Advocate here – I would push this film just over the line up to an MS. I don’t think that it is brutal to watch is a knock against it, because like you said there are great masterpieces which are just as hard, if not harder to get through because of their subject matter. There’s not really an argument that this is one of Malick’s most stunning works, but if it was by almost any other director it would be. There is some gorgeous mise-en-scene work in the use of mountains as backdrop, framing the characters in some jaw-dropping shots. There’s the comparison made above with Days of Heaven (back in wheat) and The Thin Red Line (back in war) – I think these mountains work symbolically in that way, the rocky terrain always in the background, encroaching on this peaceful life. It’s not Tree of Life or New World, but if Malick makes more of this kind of quality then his drop-off eventually won’t seem like such a big deal.
I like a lot of what you’ve written here Declan. It’s definitely a difficult discussion to be had about this film. I’ve not watched Malick’s other works in the last decade aside from The Tree of Life, but from what I’ve heard they’re pretty akin to climbing Mt. Everest and then getting dragged down wayyyyyyyyyy to the bottom by a massive avalanche, making several attempts to climb back up which got nowhere and then this very serious attempt where he now stands at a strong position to climb back up. I think there’s a very compelling argument that this is a MS. At the same time, I was not as struck by its cinematography as Malick’s other films, though the cinematography still is better even than many a MP, but still a minor step down. Additionally, it isn’t as absolutely spectacular and incredible as the two closest comparisons in The New World and The Tree of Life, which does make it whilst a step up from his other recent works, though I wish it had the same effect on me his others did. Let’s hope his new Biblical epic The Way of the Wind will be a complete return to form.
So this movie is showing in my theater.
Do you recommend seeing this at the theater?
It may seem like a silly question, since it’s Malick, but i’m not particularly excited about Malick post-2011
Yes. It’s easily his best film since The Tree of Life. I don’t think it’s a MP, but it’s still an excellent film with typically exceptional photography from Malick and I could go higher on it upon a revisit in the future.
@Aldo- yep- I would recommend a big screen visit as well here if the opportunity presents itself
I’ll be leaving many comments, i hope not disturbed.
I finally got to see this at the theater two days ago, very good observations Declan and Zane.
There is something very poetic in Malick’s films, i loved that opening.
Very good observation Drake, at the end of the film he reminded me of Joan of Arc who refused to rectify herself and was sentenced to death.
Am i the only one who thinks there is a bit of Kalatozov here? with those claustrophobic close-ups
A dedication to the background
Definitely an MS, there are easily more than 20 sequences / featured images, it is not that i have started to count but there are many
Something that i really liked was that many people came to see it, i have always felt that Malick is belittled because his films are slow and without plot.
Great pick up on the Kalatozov similarity, I have only seen I am Cuba from him but I hadn’t considered that. The low angle close-ups and use of backgrounds in them are certainly a point of comparison. Very much looking forward to Drake’s Malick study (and Godard for that matter).
My notes on a second viewing of A Hidden Life:
Documentary opening footage; atypical of Malick but I actually don’t mind the choice; mixes well with the choir score
Admire the low shot of Franz and Fani in the garden
Exceptionally gorgeous landscape photography from Malick as you’d expect
Jump cuts; it’s been too long since my last Malick film but I do believe he used this technique in The New World and The Tree of Life
Low angle shots at 6 minutes; a great montage during the same period
These fantastic landscape shots; just HOW does he do it?
Camera movement is incredible; great tracking shots
Great low angle of the Nazi-occupied castle at 10 minutes
Actually reminds me a lot of Dogville now that I think about it
Voiceover; not quite Joe Estevez in Apocalypse Now but I like it
So many low angles; my most recent Malick was a revelationary second viewing of Badlands and I don’t think he used the low-angle so often there; not a complaint at all of course; I love it
More documentary footage; reminds me a lot of Come and See actually
Montages and natural lighting galore
Excellent low angle shot of Franz, some Wehrmacht officers and a building at 20 minutes
Incredibly lit shot in a bar at 21 minutes
Great depth of field shot using Franz’s face in close-up at 22 minutes; evocative of Rumble Fish or Casino
It’s been too long since I’ve seen The New World or The Tree of Life so I hesitate to call it Malick’s finest work in editing, but the jump cuts here are fantastic
Shaky cameras from time-to-time; just like Soderbergh or von Trier
Fantastic Tarkovsky Nostalghia-like shot at exactly 25 minutes
Great montage with storm clouds coming in and a close-up of Franz; the war returning to Sankt Radegund
ASL in this film is pretty low
I love it when the camera moves to accommodate another character or when another character walks into the camera’s field of view; it’s in other films but I remember it mostly in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors
Great Tarkovsky-like shots at 27 minutes; including a Dutch angle, rarely used by Malick
The lenses Malick uses for the camera warp faces in close-up; he uses it a lot for Franz here and it works exceptionally well
If I kept mentioning the shots in this film I’d only mention the shots in this film; remember when Aldo mentioned finding 140 brilliant frames in one of Ozu’s films?
I know what I just said above but I have to mention it: great Antonioni-like shot of Franz and Fani at 31 minutes followed by some fantastic landscapes with Franz
Then we get inside the beautiful church; you mentioned it a lot in your review so I don’t need to remind you of how beautiful it is
He even uses some silhouettes here with the lighting; really great choices
Great lighting, camera distance, and mise-en-scene in the bishop’s office
Fani in a garden at 34 minutes in close-up surrounded by leaves; fantastic
Open window in the bishop’s actually looks like a painting; crazy
Frame within a frame at 34 minutes
Several great consecutive mise-en-scene compositions in montage at 35 minutes
I saw Don’t Look Now not too long ago so I can’t see the scaffolding in the church and not be reminded of that; haha
Some of the low-angle shots inside of the church are evocative of the opening sequence of Last Year at Marienbad
Extreme low angle shots of the church painter are amazing
The sun peaking through the trees at 39 minutes
One of Malick’s greatest frames ever right afterward; so fantastic I had to screenshot
Cow’s head warped by the camera as it gets milked; really strong
I’ve got more than 2 hours left in this movie of shots just as great as these; very nice
Tree in the background from a low-angle at 41 minutes during a tension-raising moment; just like the finale of Seven, Touch of Evil or The Third Man (watched that one yesterday)
One of the best shots in the film at 43 minutes; Franz’s barn in almost total darkness
Closeup of Franz and Fani lying down together in the grass at 45 minutes; really great; followed up by their hands interlocking held up to the sky and a running river leading to another landscape montage; no complaints
Tense scene with Franz and a Nazi Party member at 48 minutes; really strong
Great sound design while Franz is inside of a forge; and some jump cuts too
Unbelievable scene with a Nazi Party member encouraging some paramilitaries at a bonfire; maybe the best to this point in the film
Franz talking to the Nazi member from earlier whilst a clock tower stands between them in the background; one of Malick’s finest compositions
Amazingly composed frame with a frame shot followed by more documentary footage at 51 minutes
The White Ribbon-sequel shot amongst some bay before a fight at 54 minutes
Stunning close-up of a villager at 56 minutes
One of the film’s single finest frames of Franz with his hoe at 57
I can’t believe it took me this long to notice it but his camera movement is often as subtle as Tarkovsky, and can be just as violent as von Trier but it’s just as effective both ways
Pseudo-split diopter shot at 59 minutes
Stunning high-angle close-up at 61; this shot actually wouldn’t be too unwelcome in, say, Chinatown
Beautiful natural lighting to great effect in this film; felt the need to mention again
One thing I love that Malick does in this film is when he starts a shot with a character at a short distance but then he brings the camera much closer to them; really great technique there and a trademark from Malick
Dutch angle shot at 63 minutes
So many tree shots in this film; so amazing! Malick shoots flora like no one else
Two fantastic shots in sequence at 67 minutes; screenshotted the latter.
Loaded prop composition followed by a near-pitch dark shot followed by a fantastic body composition followed by an amazing tracking shot through the town followed by an amazing high angle distant shot followed by a fantastic shot of the Danube at 68 minutes; such a brilliant sequence
I’ve actually been underrating the excellent score and sound design in this film; the images are so excellent they’ve been distracting me from noticing
Love the composition of Franz and the other conscripts in the line at 72 minutes; he’s in close-up and the other conscripts get increasingly more distant from the camera
A low angle as Franz enters his prison cell for the first time; some respectable compositions with the other prisoners as well
Great camera movement in the prison scenes; environment of chaos and anxiety
Shot of Franz with the prison walls in the background at 74 minutes could be from Welles
I love the “the fresh green in the grass is good for a person. Someone with freedom might not notice it,” line.
More stormclouds above the landscapes
Again, great jump cut montages; some of Malick’s finest
Unfriggenbelievable composition of Fani, her (or Franz’s) mother, and their children in the garden at 76 minutes! I mean just fantastic! There’s a shot in Aguirre just like it
Fani’s and Franz’s voiceovers in their letters to each other are really amazing
A beautiful shot of a window with a vase in the sill at 78 minutes
Whenever there’s a fade in the film that effectively serves as a chapter break
Sublime camera movement as Franz meets with a lawyer in his prison cell
The single best frame in the film up to this point at 81 minutes; blindingly expressionistic
Excellent shadow work at 82 minutes
Countless fantastic frames in sequence at 83 minutes; maybe like 10 unbelievable frames in one minute? I don’t know how Malick does it
Great shot of the train’s wheels at 85 minutes
Not sure about all of the documentary footage; it’s generally stronger when Malick uses stuff he actually shot himself; I mean that more as a compliment
Stunning low angle shot with those yellow, dilapidated walls of the Berlin prison at 86 minutes; actually reminds me of Hunger from Steve McQueen, which considering this film’s content that doesn’t surprise me
Near 90 degree Dutch angles at 88 minutes
Shot of some shoes at 90 minutes is clearly taken from Ozu
Very Bela Tarr-esque shot that same minute
Fani regarded as an outsider by the people of the town; Kidman in Dogville, except here she’s actually a native
A German officer in his study at 84 minutes with some natural lighting; really love this shot (I’ve said this a million times)
Screenshotted this shot in the prison; I really love it
One of the best montages in the film as Malick jump cuts through a prison guard beating a prisoner
The two windows in Franz’s cell look like eyes; God is still watching him from above
POV camera as Franz gets beaten by a guard; starts out poorly but improves as the scene goes on; I still wish Malick didn’t do it
Dutch angle shot at 101 minutes; followed by a strong composition of the family
Great composition at 102; could be from one of Bergman’s best films
Malick doesn’t direct the conflict in this film quite as well as in The Thin Red Line or The New World but it’s not outright bad
I don’t think the score is as fine as Horner’s in The New World or Zimmer’s (I think his best work) in The Thin Red Line, but I like it. It’s at its best when the choir kicks in
Shot of a wheel in close foreground at 108 minutes; Wellesian
Utterly fantastic tracking shot through the cell block at 111 minutes in low light; just amazing
You can see Franz starting to deteriorate as we approach his execution
There’s a shot at 112 minutes that looks like a chapter break in Breaking the Waves; really beautiful mountain with fog
Fisheye lens shot inside Franz’s cell as he gets beaten by multiple guards at 113 minutes; makes one think of Brazil from Gilliam
Excellent low angle shot in Franz’s cell with natural lighting at 114 minutes
Malick starts to block out the sound and replace it with ambient background noise in a lot of the beating scenes; I think it works
Malick often uses the fisheye lens when shooting inside Franz’s cell to show his declining mental state; it’s really excellent
I love this shot of Franz looking into the prison yard at 119 minutes
Prison riot sequence at 120 minutes; it might be the best montage in the film
Love this shot of Fani with a massive Alpine mountain in the background; she (and Franz) are nothing against the massive Nazi menace (that giant mountain)
I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it already but the deep-focus work in this film is absolutely brilliant
A couple great shots of Fani in her garden at 122 minutes
Birds and crickets chirping; nice sound design
Frame within a frame at 124 minutes
Even more great deep-focus shots, in addition to great handheld camerawork
Love the montage of Franz and his friend at 126 minutes
Low Dutch angle of the two at 127 minutes; enhanced by a handheld camera
Honestly a lot of the locales in the town would not be too lost in The White Ribbon; so long as you shoot them in black-and-white
Monologue from Franz’s friend at 130 minutes; not quite Orson Welles’s “the cuckoo clock,” in The Third Man but it’s nice enough
Low angle shot as Franz taken into a Reich government building at 131 minutes; really strong use of Nazi flags high above him
I feel like I should reiterate… the close-ups in this film are just totally unreal… I mean all of the cinematography is but I just love the way Malick shoots in close-up
Absolutely fantastic shot of a Nazi judge first shot from a far distance then going into a close-up of his face; some of the finest handheld cinematography I’ve ever seen
If someone told me they think Malick is a bad editor I might hit them
Love this composition with chairs and windows at 138 minutes
Much better use of the POV camera at 140 minutes
Franz and Fani talk in German in their letters for the first time; I think this is supposed to show Franz continuously losing himself
Yet another frame within a frame at 140 minutes
Great close-ups of Fani as she arrives at the prison in Berlin; you can clearly tell this is a foreign environment to her
Jump cut sequence as Fani and the local priest wait to meet Franz; excellent as usual
Fast camera movement as Franz sees Fani; perfectly captures his reaction to seeing his wife for the first time in a year? Longer?
Great natural lighting pouring in through the windows during this scene
Amazing shot as the camera adjusts to include Franz in the field of view at 145 minutes; just so excellent
I haven’t talked about it much but the makeup on Franz is really great; he looks like he’s been through hell, and well he has; his hair, his face, his everything
It’s too bad Rex Reed didn’t review this film; I’d love to see whatever trash he’d write about it
I really like the shot of the mirror in Franz and Fani’s bedroom at 128 minutes
Malick ends the scene with a Dutch angle and the sound of a moving train (ending of Stalker from Tarkovsky); captures that tension excellently
The train passes through a forest and you see a bunch of light shafts appearing on the priest’s face at high speed; really incredible visual there
Fani walking into the frame at 151 minutes before she tears up the ground; really heartbreaking stuff
Hard to believe I’m only about 20 minutes from the film ending; such a long film
Total visual mastery at 155 minutes. Merits a screenshot
Malick’s use of wide angle lenses in this film deserves an Honorary Oscar
Great montage of the death-row inmates breaking down as they face their final moments
Frame within a frame at 159 minutes
Dutch angle on Franz aimed at the sky before a montage showing his growing insanity right before his death at 160 minutes
Amazing segment with lens flares of the sun as Franz drives a motorcycle in a flashback right before his death
Anybody who says cinema is dead needs to be shown this film then asked if they still believe cinema is dead (or dying)
The scene where the bell is rung and Malick shows us the townspeople’s reaction to Franz’s death… just devastating
Follows it up with a great Dutch angle of Fani on the farm; 165 minutes
Malick ends the film with a beautiful montage sequence mixing segments in the town and in the Alps as Fani does a voice-over speaking to Franz; contains some really excellent shots of various cinematic techniques; I love it all
A gigantic masterpiece; if you asked me today, I would say it is the best film of 2019; Very much hoping Malick’s next film is on this level.
I took these notes on mobile so I’ll post the screenshots below. Funnily enough I actually had a near-heart attack as while I was trying to get the notes copied I accidentally cut them, which meant they were totally gone after my 3 hours invested into writing them, but it turns out I had already copied them anyway. Still I would’ve been so pissed if they were gone after how long I spent writing them. I have not edited these notes at all too I should add.
Hmm… it would seem screenshots, at least the standard kind, do not work on HBO Max? I could try screen recording them instead but it’s so late today I’d have to do it tomorrow.
Wow, great notes! Makes me look forward to my second viewing.
@Zane- What an amazing collection, Zane. Thanks for sharing
What do you think of acting in the movie?
@MASH- I don’t think it registers much one way or the other.
I’m not gonna lie, I don’t wholly disagree with the Must-See ranking. I do currently recall some flawed sequences that may cause me to rank it lower than I initially had, that weren’t present in like The New World or The Tree of Life. But the film’s look… it feels unique even within Malick’s filmography.
I agree with MS. Malick is moving into a new phase and I see the modern love trilogy as an experiment that helped move him along. To The Wonder was relatively good on its own terms and would have held up well as a minor Malick film, but now gets clumped in with the other two which has undoubtedly damaged its standing. Knight of Cups and Song to Song would have been acceptable releases in a different era when great directors could make strange, experimental films (Italy or France in the 60s) but just didn’t work in today’s climate. A Hidden Life would have received more praise had it been made by someone else. Malick is simply written off by too many people because of his style and emphasis on Christian themes. I hope that A Hidden Life was paving the way for something even greater in Malick’s upcoming work The Way of the Wind.
@Leighton- Great work here- I agree with 95% of this- I’m just not sure blaming “today’s climate” for Knight of Cups and Song to Song is fair.
@Drake – Hi. I’m curious why you omitted Song to Song from the archives? For me, all three modern Malick movies are in the same league, and I don’t see a big difference in quality between them.
On the personal note, I would have been fine with all of them missing archives altogether.))
@Mad Mike- I think they’re in the same general sphere/tier– but I do think Song to Song is the weakest of the three. Maybe it is the Mont Saint-Michel setting in To the Wonder and Vegas locale for Knight of Cups that help push them past Song to Song
A return to form…I’m convinced at this point that the Malick style just doesn’t work the same in modern day settings, perhaps I’m wrong but from what I’ve seen that appears to be the case. His films have a mystique to them that just seem to translate better to period dramas
After the opening footage we get some of the idyllic lifestyle segments we see in other Malick films such as the opening to The Thin Red Line (1998), the scenes of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith playing in the fields in The New World (2005), and the scenes in the middle part of Days of Heaven (1978)
I am convinced that one of Malick’s greatest skills is in scouting locations to shoot in, I mean the mountains, hills, fields, fog are just absolutely gorgeous
15:58 beautiful shot of running water surrounded by snow on a bank
25:12 shot of fog below mountain, reminded me of opening of Aguirre (1972)
32:00 low angle of Church similar to a shot in The Tree of Life (2011)
Hopefully this is the direction Malick continues toward for any future films
[…] A Hidden Life – Malick […]