Director Terrence Malick is a well-respected filmmaker. Even so, he is an acquired taste for most moviegoers. Malick’s films are specific in their structure, pacing and storytelling, which often receive love-it-or-leave-it reviews. His upcoming film, “A Hidden Life” might be the rare film of his to hit all the right notes and have him return to the Dolby Theater on Oscar night.
Malick often takes his time making movies. His first feature film, “Badlands,” was released in 1973, followed by “Days of Heaven” in 1978, then he disappeared until he released his 1998 film “The Thin Red Line,” which garnered Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. His next film, “The New World, wouldn’t be released until 2005, followed-up by “The Tree of Life,“ which struck a cord with Academy members. The movie earned Malick his third Oscar nomination and second for Best Director and was also nominated for Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and Best Picture. It’s no surprise the film did well as it was one of the best reviewed films of Malick’s career since his early days as a director.
After “The Tree of Life,” Malick began to work more regularly, which was a surprise from the notoriously reclusive filmmaker. Movies like “To the Wonder,” “Knight of Cups,” and “Song to Song” failed to ignite any passion due to their meandering and ponderous nature. Since “A Hidden Life” had its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, it appears Malick may have found his stride once again. The movie currently sits at 74-percent on RottenTomatoes.
On paper, “A Hidden Life” seems like a film that could excite the Academy. The 180-minute epic is based on real events, chronicling the story of a man who refused to fight for the Nazis during World War II. The Academy may be evolving but there is a long-standing sector of the membership who love to award historical pieces. If the Directors’ branch and the Academy at large don’t go for “A Hidden Life,” it seems like a safe bet the craft branches will reward the film with a few nominations.