Once upon a time, there lived in a valley above the clouds a young Austrian couple, secure in their beliefs that fascism would never reach them. The fact-based story of a conscientious objector who refused to fight alongside the Nazis — villagers turn against the #NeverHitler for not returning their salute — is dragged across the screen for what seems an eternity by Terrence Malick. With Harvey Weinstein committing career hara-kiri, one hoped that along with his merited banishment went the annual year-end attempt to drag the Holocaust through the Hollywood cesspool trawling for Oscar. What therefore Harvey hath joined together, let not Malick put asunder. After three introductory minutes of file footage featuring Hitler, an inter-title appears to inform us that the story that we are about to see is based on truth. Words have never been Malick’s strong suit, but in case the viewer finds what the characters say to be simplistic, consider his use of ‘Scope. One stinkin’ fisheye lens! It’s like watching bow tie pasta for 174 minutes. (2019) — Scott Marks
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