Rolling Stone - 01/21/1999
"...Malick's return is a cause for celebration. His harsh, haunting film shuns the platitudes to expose war as a crime against nature..."
Sight and Sound - 03/??/1999
"...An extraordinary achievement....THE THIN RED LINE is hugely effective as a film about the absurdity of war..."
Total Film - 10/01/1999
"...[A] masterpiece of poetic flourish and grand ambition..." -- 4 out of 5 stars
USA Today - 12/24/1998
"...Terrence Malick's first movie since 1978's DAYS OF HEAVEN is just as sensual, subliminally stirring and magnificently photographed..." -- 4 out of 4 stars
New York Times - 12/23/1998
"...[Malick's] intoxication with natural beauty, fused so palpably with the psychic sleepwalking of his human characters, remains exactly as it was....Here is a visceral reminder of all that made his past work so hauntingly majestic..."
Box Office - 02/01/1999
"...A monumental accomplishment....THE THIN RED LINE must be seen, felt and remembered to be fully appreciated. And for those willing to rise to the occasion, the reward is beyond compare..." -- 5 out of 5 stars
Los Angeles Times - 12/23/1998
"...Malick has retained his eye for crystalline images, and a facility for camera movement so fluid as to seem almost thought-activated..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 01/08/1999
"...The battle scenes themselves are masterful..."
A.V. Club - 10/06/2010
"Malick goes further, trying to puzzle out what about war makes us human, an willingly accepting whatever wonders and awful truths present themselves as answers." -- Grade: A
Terrence Malick returns to Hollywood after a two-decade hiatus with this adaptation of the classic WWII novel by James Jones. The story follows the efforts of an army platoon to capture the Japanese-controlled island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific Ocean, which will have a major effect on the outcome of the war. The members of C-for-Charlie Company are all fighting for different reasons: some to achieve glory, some to fight for democracy, and some simply to remain alive. They spend the quieter moments reflecting upon their existence, searching for meaning amid the senselessness of war.
Malick's reputation as one of cinema's most brilliant directors, based on his masterworks BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN, enabled him to pull together one of the largest ensemble all-star casts in Hollywood history. The result is a sprawling epic that carries itself like a poem read in a dream, a feeling that is greatly enhanced by John Toll's floating camerawork and Hans Zimmer's haunting score. Rather than concentrating solely on the violence and destruction of war, Malick uses the situation to address philosophical questions such as man versus nature, war versus peace, and good versus evil. THE THIN RED LINE proves that after a 20-year layoff, Malick hasn't lost a step.
Terrence Malick's return to the director's chair after a 20-year absence is a challenging, philosophical, epic poem that already stands as a historic cinematic achievement. Continuing the blend of abstracted intellect and pure, honest emotion that he established with his previous 1970s classics, BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN, this adaptation of the James Jones novel feels like a nostalgic dream. Stellar contributions from John Toll and Hans Zimmer, along with the floating voice-overs of the characters, combine to create a thoughtful, sensitive reflection on the nature of man and the absurdity of war.
Based On A Novel |
Essential Cinema |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
Director Terrence Malick had a clause in his contract that no pictures could be taken of him at any point during production.
Actors that didn't make the film's final cut include Lukas Haas, Bill Pullman, Jason Patric, Viggo Mortensen, Billy Bob Thornton, and Martin Sheen.
In the script, the part of Cpl. Fife (Adrien Brody) was one of the meatiest, although he barely speaks a line in the finished film.