The Thin Red Line 1998 ★★★★★


I heard people talk about immortality,
but I ain't seen it.
l wondered how it'd be when l died.
What it'd be like to know that this breath now
was the last one you was ever gonna draw.
l just hope l can meet it the same way she did.
With the same... calm.
Cos that's where it's hidden -
the immortality l hadn't seen.

What's it like to be lying in the middle of an unfamiliar jungle with birds singing around you, the sun making it's way through the trees to lightly shine on the guy next to you, dying of a bullet wound to the gut, knowing you will be next if you get up and run towards the gunfire as you were just told to do? In that moment, what are you thinking of? Your wife who is probably making dinner right now? Dying alone in this godforsaken place with nothing but terrible pain and blue skies, and no one to hear your last words? Do you check that you have morphine? Isn't it absurd that this blade of grass in front of you will still be there next week but you will not? Are you so angry at them that you want to just run in their direction and kill every single one of them? How did you get here? What's this all about, this destruction?


The Thin Red Line is every war picture ever made.

It is the universal story of the soldier.
It is the story of the frightened soldier, the courageous one, the one who questions and the one who doesn't.
It is the story of the private who obeys, the captain who leads and the Lt Colonel who commands.
It is the story of the soldier who protects the POW, the one who reaches out to him, the one who ridicules him and the one who kills him.
It is the story of the soldier who re-enlists, the one who defects, the one who goes home and the one who has no home to go to.

It is the universal story of war.
It is the story of a battle that must be won at all costs, and the battle that costs too much.
It is the story of the environment of war, it's natural beauty, its obstacles in battle and its rewards.
It is the story of the people who live in that environment and the effects of the war on them.

It is the universal story of man.
It is the story of man's reflection on his own purpose.
It is the story of man facing death.
It is the story of man making sense of the world.

The Thin Red Line is the timeless story of every man's humanity, every man's "spark".

34 Comments

  • That would have been much better!

    Hmmm watching Ralphie pine for an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle or watching various actors emote the horrors of war...

    hmmmm touch choice!

  • Wonderful review, Lise. One of the best I've ever read on Letterboxd. Or, come to think of it, anywhere.

  • Thank you Treble. The film meant something to me so I tried to capture that.

  • Wow. Looks like another moving experience from Him. Got to catch my breath before I can experience another of his works. I do not know how long it will take.

  • Perfectly said Lise.

  • The first time I have read this review, I haven't seen the movie yet. However, today, everytime I think about this movie, I immediatly think of you Lise, how I have no idea how you look like and how I never understood your profile picture, and how you wrote something good. I just associated The Thin Red Line with your Profile, and that's funny.

  • Daniel, what an honour to be associated with this film in any way. That is so cool - thanks for saying.

    I can explain my profile picture: it isn't movie related or anything, it is just my backyard that overlooks a river. It is all very nice and quiet and peaceful. Hmm. I suppose I could stretch things a little and say that it is calm like Private Witt. Happy New Year to you.

  • This review is fantastic. It always amazes me when someone is able to put how I feel into words better than I do. Well done.

  • Eric, thanks. That is very kind of you to say.

  • Wow...just wow...just...wow!

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