Finally Terrence Malick is back with a real masterpiece and his best film since "The Tree of Life". Its a film that really gets under your skin if you embrace to it. Malick's longest film is also one of his most emotional and thought provoking ones in a way. We show two different worlds colliding with each other. Malick takes a lot of time to really show the idyllic and peaceful life of Austrian villagers, far away from the cruelty of the world, but collides with it when one of the villagers is called in for war but declines. August Diehl wonderfully plays this real life figure and gives a truly tour de force performance. A performance that is only challenged by Valerie Pachner who is just outstanding, especially in the second half of the film. We got the last roles of Bruno Ganz and Michael Nyqvist, although rather cameos than real supporting roles but thats most of the cast expect for Diehl and Pachner as those two actors play characters that embodie the whole emotions of people that are forced into a war they dont want.
Typically for Terrence Malick you are treated with a fantastic cinematography. Unforgettable images of pure and innocent nature. It is fantastic how he links that to the true hell...and combines it (take notice of the constant bird singing in the film) He uses it as its second protagonists and symbol the same time. Also the score by James Newton Howard is fantastic and emotional. It is long yes but except for a section after 2 hours it doesn't feel like it because Malick needs that time to bring the people, their believes and culture close to his audience.