The Thin Red Line

"Good"

The Thin Red Line Review


War is hell. I think.

Terrence Malick's long-awaited and severely overhyped Line is plenty red, but it isn't thin at all. In fact, it's damn thick and dense, and it meanders about like a lazy river.

At almost three hours, The Thin Red Line burns long and slow, and fully a third of the movie is completely wasted on surrealistic, bizarre voice-overs that do little but confuse what is an otherwise running theme in the film: War blows.

But Malick is a hermitic auteur, and as such, he must be allowed to do as he pleases. So, for example, instead of seeing the film--and the war--only through the eyes of its central character, Jack Witt (Cavaziel), we are treated to behind-the-brain looks at a half-dozen other characters, too. And they all pretty much agree that WWII is a real pisser, for some reason or another.

Not that Line is without its strengths, the middle third is a juicy look at the horrors of the war in the Pacific and the power plays of military officers. But, sadly, much of Line is a simple vanity project, not just for Malick but also for the dozens of name-brand stars involved. Witness John Travolta and George Clooney in blatant I-flew-in-for-the-afternoon one-scene appearances. Such star quality and behind-the-scenes hype will do a lot to woo critics and Oscar voters... at the expense of truly good filmmaking.

The movie's camerawork and performances by Cavaziel, Chaplin, Penn, Koteas, and Cusack should not be overlooked, and Nolte's put-upon Lt. Colonel is a memorable piece of work. But as for the silly metaphysical script that invents more English language constructs than it adheres to... well, let's just say that the importance of a good story editor can't be stressed heavily enough.

All eyes out for Mr. Malick...



The Thin Red Line

Facts and Figures

Run time: 170 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $36.4M

Budget: $52M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Fox 2000 Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Geisler-Roberdeau

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as 1st Sgt. Welsh, as Cpl. Fife, as Pvt. Bell, as Capt. Bosche, as Capt. Gaff, as Sgt. Keck, as Capt. Staros, as Lt. Col. Tall, John C. Reilly as Sgt. Storm, as Brig. Gen. Quintard, as Pvt. Tella, as Pvt. Peale, Matt Doran as Pvt. Coombs, Paul Gleeson as 1st Lt. Band, as Sgt. Becker, as Pvt. Charlie Dale, as 2nd Lt. Whyte, as Sgt. McCron, as Pfc - Beade, as Marty Bell, as Pvt. Brian Tills, as Pfc. Don Doll, Larry Romano as Pvt. Mazzi, Penelope Allen as Witt's Mother, as Pvt. Carni, as Pvt. Witt

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