The arresting visual beauty of “A Hidden Life,” which was shot by Joerg Widmer, is essential to its own argument, and to Franz’s ethical and spiritual rebuttal to the concerns of his persecutors and would-be allies. The topography of the valley is spectacular, but so are the churches and cathedrals. Even the cells and offices are infused with an aesthetic intensity at once sensual and picturesque.
The hallmarks of Malick’s later style are here: the upward tilt of the camera to capture new vistas of sky and landscape; the brisk gliding along rivers and roads; the elegant cutting between the human and natural worlds; the reverence for music and the mistrust of speech. (The score is by James Newton Howard.)