Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#286: The Thin Red Line

1998, Rank #660

(Hello everyone, I'm back due to "popular demand." I was on a short hiatus due to the amount of time school takes from my free time, but now I'm going to try to crank some posts out every now and then. Still don't think it will be as frequent as it is over summer break.)

I think that The Thin Red Line is possibly Terrence Malick's best film, other than Badlands (which I consider his masterpiece). This goes outside the boundaries of most war films, and is a mixture of intense heavy combat scenes, poetic cinematography, and introspection on the philosophy of war. Malick was a former philosophy student, and this film is probably his most philosophical. Various characters narrate their thoughts and questions regarding the horrors of war, and the almost nonstop barrage of battle scenes in the major central section of the movie work really well to support this. The beautiful shots of nature that appear along side these scenes of warfare show the main conflict between man and nature. Really this is such a good movie that although Malick's usually weaknesses (reliance on beautiful images to take the place of story, underusing actors' abilities, heavy-handedness) are still here, they seem to fit well with Malick's purpose here, and are balanced out by the movie's overall quality. Although the movie has an amazing cast and some of the actors give great, striking performances (Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Elias Koteas), some of them are just plain underused (Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Travolta, John C. Reilly) and made me a little disappointed in this waste of talent. It's kind of a big, exhausting mess of a movie (Malick style) but there's a lot of greatness to be found here, I definitely recommend it.

(Rating: 8/10)

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