Jeez, war films in 1998 took over the Oscars.
With an all-star cast — featuring Sean Penn, George Clooney, Nick Nolte and Adrien Brody — director Terrence Malick’s lyrical and beautiful retelling of James Jones’s novel about the 1942 battle for Guadalcanal was nominated for seven Oscars. With narration by Pvt. Witt (Jim Cavaziel), the men of C-Company become a tight-knit group as they each individually face the horrors of war to hold onto a key-positioned airfield.
The Thin Red Line, is basically a remake of the original 1964 flick, and to be truly honest after watching this film, I don’t think I will have to dig back into the archives and watch that.
Most War films over-exploit the gore and the violence of the war, but never really capture the feelings of the war within it’s soldiers. This film, captured all the feeling imaginable. We really do get to feel what these characters feel through a lot of emotional and overall beautiful images that are being narrated over by soldiers that are present in the film.
Immediately, I was caught up in this film, even in its first frame that features an alligator. It not once lost my interest until the very end where I did start to believe the moral story of good and evil started to wane on, and become a little boring and I didn’t that there wasn’t any material to work from.
Terrence Malick returns to film-making after his 20 year absence, and it doesn’t feel like he missed those years at all. He without a doubt capture the right emotion at the right time with every little scene. The cinematography that he worked on really made us feel the intensity of fighting an enemy that was hidden. Malick should’ve won Best Director for this film because although he doesn’t steer this film into perfection, he does steer into the right and very inspired direction.
Visually, this film is just one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. There are some scenes that are so beautiful, so touching, and so inspirational that I couldn’t just help but shed a tear. Some scenes as I stated before are over-lapped by little narration from the soldiers, but you almost forget about the speaking and can’t stop but gaze at how beautiful the look and feel this movie really does have.
The all-star cast really does a good job in this film and really do step away from their public images and create characters that we like and can relate to. Out of the whole cast Nick Nolte is who I really think does the best. He is angry, ruthless, and also very misguided and you can see that coming out of his performance. I wish that there was more time for these big stars to interact with one another but overall I was pleased with the way some of these characters were used. I also liked how the Japanese weren’t portrayed as these savage killers who have no souls. Instead, they were shown with having as much fear and terror as much as the U.S., and that’s what really separates this film from others.
The only complaint that I really do think killed this film to be as much as a success as Saving Private Ryan, was that there are way too many scenes of just down time. In SPR, the down time was actually interesting and you actually got a sense of what those characters lives we’re like before war. However, in this the down time is submitted to beautiful visuals but overall not very interesting dialouge that I thnk made this film not win one Oscar.
Consensus: The Thin Red Line is visually astonishing, incredibly-well directed, and features amazingly true messages about how the war turns people into animals. However, the film offers to much time for boredom and doesn’t quite connect as well as Saving Private Ryan.