The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

TW: Intense war scenes

Adapted from the autobiography of James Jones, the film follows the battles of C Company in the Pacific during World War 2.

Although slow and a little unfocused in places, this a fantastic war film that does an excellent job of exploring the men involved and how the war affected them. The storytelling is clever, especially in the way it keeps the character always in focus while the war rages on near them. This could have been difficult to pull off given how many characters the film focuses on but it is a great way of telling the story of the whole company and what they went through. The ending is incredibly moving with Witt's (Jim Caviezel) decision to distract the enemy.

The whole cast do excellent work in their roles. Jim Caviezel and Elias Koteas are the standouts as Witt and the sensitive company commander Staros respectively. Sean Penn is also on great form as Welsh, the company's 1st Sgt. Adrien Brody, Ben Chaplin, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Jared Leto, Dash Mihok, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, John C. Reilly, Larry Romano, John Savage, John Travolta, Thomas Jane and Nick Stahl provide brilliant support.

Malick's almost poetical take on the story means that this doesn't look like any other war film. The sublime, almost dreamlike imagery of the characters in their quiet moments is juxtaposed with the blunt and very harsh war scenes. Hans Zimmer's beautiful and haunting score manages to be both epic and intimate.

Final thought: The best film by the director I've seen so far.

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