The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red LineMost reviews that you will read on this film will be how great, poetic, masterfully shot this film is. First let me say I did enjoy this film and I have chosen to watch it several times since it came out. I do however think that most of the over the top glorified reviews come from fans and people that believe that Terrence Malick is the be all end all of movie directors. Personally I think he is a bit over rated. This came out the same year Saving Private Ryan did, and I don’t think it comes close to being the film that Private Ryan is. Malick supporters will say I just don’t get it, or I’m not intellectual enough to understand him. I understand him, and get it, he is just a bit heavy handed with his directing and many times to artsy for his own good.

Really the one thing that annoyed me about Thin Red Line was the voice over. Soldiers in war don’t run around thinking in Shakespearean pros or poetic verses as if from a Robert Frost poem. My general opinion on voice overs in films are that if you need one, you are not doing a very good job. I think some of the thoughts and points could have been conveyed through acting and the film score. Most reviews say this film makes you think, to me with the voice over, Malick is trying to do your thinking for you by spelling out what he is trying to say.

This film does has an impressive cast. Sean Penn (Best Actor Milk and Mystic River), Adrian Brody (Best Actor The Pianist), George Clooney (Oceans 11, Burn After Reading), John Cusack (Runaway Jury, Must Love Dogs), Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ, Frequency), and probably the only performance worth bragging about come from Nick Nolte (Cape Fear).

In my opinion this is a good war film, but at times a bit too artsy for it’s own good. I am sure some will love it and think of it as a deeper war film than anything out there, just didn’t come across that way to me. This film is still worth watching, I just wouldn’t put it at the top of the “to watch” pile.