The Thin Red Line

Every man fights his own war
Every man fights his own war
D: Terrence Malick
20th Century Fox/Fox 2000/Phoenix (Robert Michael Geisler, John Roberdeau & Grant Hill)
US 1998
170 mins


W: Terrence Malick [based on the novel by James Jones]
DP: John Toll
Ed: Billy Weber, Leslie Jones & Saar Klein
Mus: Hans Zimmer

Jim Caviezel (Pvt. Witt), Sean Penn (Sgt. Welsh), Elias Koteas (Capt. Staros), Ben Chaplin (Pvt. Bell), Nick Nolte (Col. Tall), Adrien Brody (Cpl. Fife), John C. Reilly (Sgt. Storm), Woody Harrelson (Sgt. Keck)

Writer-director Terrence Malick's first project in 20 years was lauded by the critics upon release, even garnering 7 Oscar nominations including Best Picture. For traditional cinema audiences however, many would be left scratching their heads and wondering what all the fuss was about.         
The film lacks a traditional narrative, instead it focuses on several soldiers on a routine mission during World War II, all of whom have their own outlook on their place in the conflict, as well as on life in general. There could have been even more stories, but several strands of storyline ended up on the cutting room floor, including entire performances from some big names in an already all-star cast.
It's all very pretty to watch, with poetically astounding cinematography perfectly capturing the beautiful setting, but the ultimate point of the movie is that war is a conflict against nature. Take that as you will, there's not much else here beyond how aesthetically pleasing the film looks.

The Thin Red Line
The Thin Red Line