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One of the cinema's great disappearing acts came to a close with the release ofThe Thin Red Linein late 1998. Terrence Malick, the cryptic recluse who withdrew from Hollywood visibility after the release of his visually enthralling masterpieceDays of Heaven(1978), returned to the director's chair after a 20-year coffee break. Malick's comeback vehicle is a fascinating choice: a wide-ranging adaptation of a World War IInovel(filmed once before, in 1964) by James Jones. The battle for Guadalcanal Island gives Malick an opportunity to explore nothing less than the nature of life, death, God, and courage. Let that be a warning to anyone expecting a conventional war flick; Malick proves himself quite capable of mounting an exciting action sequence, but he's just as likely to meander into pure philosophical noodling--or simply let the camera contemplate the first steps of a newly birthed tropical bird, the sinister skulk of a crocodile. This is not especially an actors' movie--some faces go by so quickly they barely register--but the standouts are bold: Nick Nolte as a career-minded colonel, Elias Koteas as a deeply spiritual captain who tries to protect his men, Ben Chaplin as a G.I. haunted by lyrical memories of his wife. The backbone of the film is the ongoing discussion between a wry sergeant (Sean Penn) and an ethereal, almost holy private (newcomer Jim Caviezel). The picture's sprawl may be a result of Malick's method of "finding" a film during shooting and editing, and in some waysThe Thin Red Lineseems vaguely, intriguingly incomplete. Yet it casts a spell like almost nothing else of its time, and Malick's visionary images are a challenge and a signpost to the rest of his filmmaking generation.--Robert Horton
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review by . May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     The last time I saw a Terrence Malick film was when I watched "Days of Heaven". I swore I would see more of his work, and as you can see, I haven't been so faithful to that promise. So here I am reviewing Malick's third film, "The Thin Red Line", which sees the legendary artistic mastermind tackling a genre I always imagined he would tackle; the war genre. Malick is good at flawlessly directing his films, adding beautiful cinematography to intensify mood …
review by . September 29, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
What a pity "The Thin Red Line" is. What a pity that it was released the same year of Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan." What a pity that it was nominated for Best Picture against Spielberg's aforementioned "Saving Private Ryan." What a pity this movie has always been in the shadows of "Saving Private Ryan." What a pity that I should see it the day after I see "Saving Private Ryan." Like "Saving Private Ryan," "The Thin Red Line" takes place during World War II. The battle that "The Thin …
review by . October 28, 2004
Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest directors ever to breath, stood firm in naming The Thin Red Line as one of the top ten most important films of the 1990's. I couldn't agree more.    The Thin Red line is an incredible achievement. It doesn't take half a brain nowadays to create an all out action fest, with fast editing and mindless violence. Malick stands out on his own and selectively chose a film that concentrates on then internal war of the mind, which just happens to be …
review by . January 19, 2003
Critics raved about the director's past work. Were eager to see new work, especially such an attractive cast in such an ambitious subject. They saw the movie. The movie was "artsy." They raved.But did anyone understand it? I don't care how "philosophical" it was, or how pretty the flowers on the island looked in contrast to the brutality of war. I know it was an anti-war statement (at least I imagine it was). But any "issue" movie still needs to have a coherent plot. It was virtually impossible …
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