But how has the acclaimed director's legacy changed over the years and what do we still have to learn from his as a filmmaker?
Terrence Malick, to his credit, has had a filmmaking career quite unlike anyone we’ve ever seen before—perhaps one that we’ll ever see again.
After making Badlands and Days of Heaven in the 1970s, the reclusive filmmaker disappeared for several decades, only to sparingly re-emerge in the ‘90s and ‘00s for a few notable arthouse blockbusters here and there.
However, after his magnum opus Tree of Life was released in 2011, Malick has been on a tear, with six films already in the ‘10s. And while cinephiles and aspiring Malickian filmmakers have enjoyed the almost endless flow of cinematically breathtaking features, reviews and even public opinion of the acclaimed director have begun to shift.
Now, we have another Malick film on our doorsteps. A Hidden Life, a historical drama which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and is now set to be released theatrically on December 13th, 2019.
Malick’s Hidden Life
Set around the life of an Austrian conscientious objector during World War II, A Hidden Life looks to explore many of Malick’s favorite themes including faith, virtue, and truth. Early reviews of the film’s screening at Cannes have praised the film as a return to form for the director. Accordingly, the film has been picked up for a reported $12 to $14 million dollars and is being slated for an award season push in mid-winter. If the returns hold true, we could see a deserving follow up to the critically and commercially successful Tree of Life.
For those who of us who have looked to Malick for inspiration, we've found great resources in the director's influence, use of motif and thematics, sound, and even shot listing. As a self-proclaimed Terrence Malick fanboy myself, it will be interesting to see, though, if another Oscar nomination (or perhaps even win) will restore Malick to the lofty heights his sporadic early career endeared.
Or, as is perhaps the case with Malick his whole career, his style and output are subject to whims which we’ll never truly understand. And we may very well be in the middle of a continued run of quick-release meandering films which all tie together in more ways than we can see.
Of note, Malick has reportedly already begun shooting on another new movie in Rome which is set to explore the life of Jesus Christ.