The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line ★★★★★

Terrence Malick is a man who takes his time, does things his way, and never compromises on what, or who, he wants to put in his movies. The guys who've ended up on the cutting room floor over the years has mounted up considerably, Malick simply wants what HE wants regardless of time constraints, egos, or studio interference, and it usually pays off.
The Thin Red Line is a remarkable war film. Contrasting the beauty of nature with the brutality of war, and the warmth of love with the barbarity of hate, Malick's film is both beautiful to look at and also a pulsating action-packed epic. No quarter is given in this take on the battle by US soldiers to liberate Guadalcanal from the Japanese in WWII. An ensemble cast of seasoned actors give sterling performances in a film that was unceremoniously ignored in favour of Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in fucking Love. Nick Nolte and Elias Koteas should have at least bagged a Nomination, and although Ryan is also an exceptional film, Malick was robbed of at least a couple of Awards. This film is only 7 minutes short of The Godfather, but it never feels like it's near three hour runtime, with one performer after another given their chance in the spotlight. Few films in the last twenty years can boast the cast that Malick drew here, Caviezel, Penn, Clooney, Nolte, Cusack, Reilly, Brody, Harrelson, Travolta, Chaplin, and Leto, all deliver, and just spare a thought for Mickey Rourke who ended up on the cutting room floor. This is a powerful film, it's an attack on the senses in more ways than one, and that's what makes Malick quite so special. Since The New World I've had a rough time with Malick's output, but whenever I return to this film I realise that maybe I should give them all another viewing because the man has talent to burn.

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