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Cinematography is terrific, and look of a fine nature documentary.
Some war, shooting, and great actors.
But this one gets a Huge yawn!
The Thin Red Line (despite it's awesome cast) is unfocused, and dishes out screen time unevenly for the all stars.
Great War movie in its own right that suffered due to similar release time as saving private Ryan
The most brutal war film ever made.
Terrence Malick's war epic The Thin Red Line (1998) utilizes its behemoth cast of stars and Malick's own words with his directorial vision culminating in a harrowing ordeal. The Thin Red Line makes a convincing case for the death of all war as men lose their lives, minds, rationale, kindness, empathy, decency, and humanity during the conflicts brought about by war.
I should warn viewers The Thin Red Line is nearly 3 hours of horrific murder and defeated attitudes. I have to hand it to editors Billy Weber, Leslie Jones, and Saar Klein for editing down Malick's intimidating war masterpiece to a highly coherent 2 hours and 50 minutes. It may turn off some audiences with its slow burn pace and grisly violence, but I found The Thin Red Line riveting in its thoughtful messaging and gripping in its suspense driven warfare wherein an enemy can pop out of the tall grass of the Pacific Islands at any moment.
Terrence Malick's direction is pensive and focused. He relies on heavy narration from the perspective of various leading characters that deliver enthralling voice work conveying their sorrow, misery, and dejection during World War II. Malick's writing is poetic in form and complexity. His dialogue is written in eloquent phrases that essentially mean war is a self defeating institution wherein both sides inevitably die gruesome pointless deaths. The Thin Red Line elevates action into a display of pain and shocking intensity that is sure to bother many viewers. Malick explains all the suffering with beautiful words full of reflective sentiment that deliver upon the film's promise to give a new perspective on war's traumatizing effect on soldiers.
Hans Zimmer's score for The Thin Red Line is a blaring loud, constantly pounding, sonic throb. Zimmer composed some of his most minimalist sounds, yet the atmospheric pressure that his score brings to The Thin Red Line is undeniable. You know that an ambush can come at any time during the quiet moments, then Zimmer's music soars into hearing and assaults you with massive blasts of adrenaline that are as deafening and explosive as the air strikes in The Thin Red Line.
John Toll's cinematography for The Thin Red Line is timeless. He captures the natural beauty of the rain-forest as well as its quiet threat wherein any foe can appear out of nowhere at any time. Toll films cute animals in the surrounding area to offset the numbing violence sequences that are sure to follow and shock. Malick's film-making technique is also on point for The Thin Red Line as a majority of the film utilizes long tracking shots that sweep a location with a magnificent panning technique. The incessant gunfire, mortar fire, grenade explosions, and soldiers screaming scar the cinematic safety net of the screen. All the violence, combat, and trauma flies out of the screen like shrapnel. Toll's steady camera work is what forces you into the perspective of a soldier crawling around a rain-forest or a grassy hill, paranoid the enemy's forces are about to descend upon you.
The Thin Red Line's impressive ensemble cast is nothing to scoff at as every character is portrayed by a superstar. In particular, Jim Caviezel is engaging as the conscious stricken soldier of mercy. Sean Penn is remarkable as the jaded and realistic soldier with experience. Caviezel and Penn's chemistry as friendly soldiers with opposing opinions is absolutely fascinating. Elias Koteas is amazing as the highly moral and ethic captain that refuses an unthinkable order. Nick Nolte is fierce and fearsome as the commanding officer that gave such a heinous order. Jared Leto is brave and cautious as the soldier that sends his men out of the grass, getting them riddled by bullets. Lastly for the main cast, Adrien Brody is paranoid and afraid of the danger engulfing his every step.
Furthermore, Miranda Otto is dreamy as the loving wife of one of the soldiers, who writes her husband a "Dear John" letter in one of The Thin Red Line's most devastating moments. Ben Chaplin is inspiring as the positive thinking soldier dreaming only of returning home to his wife with a sullen revelation. John Cusack is sad as the soldier that realizes his leader is crazed beyond what he can cope with and his men are doomed. Woody Harrelsen is commanding as the tough sergeant, who meets an embarrassing and upsetting end. John Travolta makes an appearance as a confident brigadier general. John C. Reilly is a neat foil of apathy at the end for Sean Penn's resolute soldier. Dash Mihok is fantastic as the deepening insanity descends upon his soldier. Tim Blake Nelson gets a few funny lines, whereas Thomas Jane gets a content soldier of inevitable apathy towards war makes him quit in a great sequence alongside Sean Penn. Even George Clooney makes a cameo at the end as the newly appointed captain to lead this regiment.
To conclude, Jim Caviezel, Elias Koteas, Nick Nolte, Adrien Brody, and Jared Leto all deliver outstanding acting performances. However, Sean Penn is my favorite character in The Thin Red Line because you know where his character stands from the beginning. Penn finds a contemplative persona for his deeply reflective and bluntly honest character that I found riveting to the last. His face alone reveals a worn acceptance for the trauma and loss that comes with war. I think The Thin Red Line may contain Sean Penn's finest acting.
In short, I urge you to trudge through the muck and misery for a transcendent experience unlike any other war film. The Thin Red Line will wear you down until you are emotionally spent of all joy.
A perfect movie with perfect cinematography, music score, cast and directing. The best movie I've ever seen
GREAT movie with tons of drama, real life scenarios that deployed soldiers face, and emotion. One of Sean Penns and Michael J Fox's best performances.
Not your typical movie let alone war flick. No this is catalogue of many soldiers struggles with war and turmoil that ties into being at war. A good movie for us arm chair philosophers who ask questions like Pvt Witt about meaning and destiny. The cinematography is incredible, Malick uses nature in juxtaposition with man and war masterfully. A thought provoking film and one of my favorites.
I just thought this was an overthought war movie. These were 18-21 year old kids fighting this war, the narration would have you thinking it was a bunch of Froid jrs. I suppose it was a different view of war instead of the usual blood and guts, but for me it was pretty annoying.
Imagine a lesser known Saving Private Ryan but extremely boring., Well, The Thin Red Line is that exact movie. Director Terrence Malick did however, bring some light into this story. The cinematography was great, the landscaping was impressive, and all of the cast members did well with the script. It should have been another landmark, but its not. Why? It has an extremely elongated run time without any focus. While the emotional depth was all dried-up by the absent amount of pure enjoyment. Still, its a good film that you'll forget about quiet quickly.
The Thin Red Line: Despite the attempt at meshing dramaturgy with the austere outlook of war Malick has the music and images but yet can’t seen to focus on characterization; despite the cast, or tell a coherent story that vaugley keeps the audience going for its 3 hour run time, with the same morale in almost every war film: War is evil and man seeks salvation from it.