Sam Morrison’s review published on Letterboxd:
That's what I'm talking about. Jacob, my brother, thank you for pushing me to finally get to this. I knew I would have eventually anyway, but you encouraged me to do so much sooner than I anticipated.
The Thin Red Line feels unique to me because there's really no central character. Dunkirk did this too, but this has many more characters, and they all are unique to one another. Jim Caviezel has a smile that won't quit, and a can-do attitude to match. Thomas Jane is a young country lad who I couldn't help but fawn over (yes, I promise I'm straight), Nick Nolte is a no-nonsense Lieutenant who gets red in the face by yelling every chance he gets, a far cry from his quiet, reserved performance in Warrior.
I could explain each and every person involved, but the review would be much longer than people would probably tolerate. Speaking of length, it's no secret I don't jump at the chance to view movies this long on many occasions, but it feels entirely appropriate. By being this length, it doesn't feel like one battle, and then scenes connecting. This feels like a journey, and I am so glad they went with that approach, having so many characters we come to know and appreciate. I haven't read the novel so I can't account for accuracy, but I imagine it's pretty faithful.
And something that a lot of war films don't really seem to do as far as my memory recalls, is portray emotions from the "other side" of the conflict. We get stuck with one group, and are forced to see their harrowing experiences. But once we got further in here, we see how this ever-growing violence affects the Japanese too. Heartbreaking. These were possibly the hardest scenes for me to take. With the brutal experiences we join them on, it doesn't feel artificially tacked on for the sake of cinema. We are forced to sit in front of this tragedy and process emotions along with these young men.
The Thin Red Line never glorifies war, but instead represents it in a way that feels entirely probable and realistic. It's matched with a tight script that's infinitely quotable, a majestic soundtrack, and cinematography that beautifies the exotic landscape.