#1  
Old 10-01-2008, 01:23 AM
Lets talk... The Thin Red Line

I just finally got around to watching this today and I think it MOSTLY kick@ss. It's got alot more action in it than I expected. I thought most everyone gave good performances... But...


SPOILER:


When Woody Harelson was shot and was dying I don't think that scene came off that well. I thought it was one of the weak links of the movie. It just did seem right for some reason. Can't really put my finger on it right now.


END OF SPOILER


Nick was good as was Penn. I wasn't sure that I really enjoyed the voice over bits though. It looks beautiful and is action packed along with good acting for the most part. Even though it feels extremely anti war and almost felt like a sledgehammer effect every now and then, I still liked the movie alot. They could have left out some of the big names though. I don't really understand why John Travolta was in this movie.



8/10
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2013, 03:29 PM
The Thin Red Line is by far my favourite Malick film, and I think it is largely overlooked as far as the "masterpieces of the last twenty-five years" discussion goes. But recently I've noticed that it's getting a ton of love on the board -- whereas before people used to focus on Badlands and Days of Heaven, a lot of people now seem to be jumping on the TTRL bandwagon for both best Malick film and Classics of the Last 25 years.

Anyway, I was thinking it may be interesting to talk about the meaning of the film a little bit. I'd like to submit these thoughts via Simon Critchley's interpretation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Critchley
The narrative of _The Thin Red Line_ is organized around three relationships, each composed of a conflict between two characters. The first relationship is that between Colonel Tall, played by Nick Nolte, and Captain Starros, played by Elias Koteas. At the core of this relationship is the question of loyalty, a conflict between loyalty to the commands of one's superiors and loyalty to the men under one's command. This relationship comes to a crisis when Starros refuses a direct order from Tall to lead an attack on the machine gun position of the Japanese. Starros says that 'I've lived with these men for two and a half years, and I will not order them to their deaths' -- for the carnage that the Japanese are causing from their superior hill-top vantage point and the scenes of slaughter are truly awful. Suppressing his fury, Tall goes up the line to join Charlie company and skilfully organizes a flanking assault on the Japanese position. After the successful assault, he gives Starros a humiliating lecture about the necessity of allowing one's men to die in battle. He decides that Starros is not tough-minded enough to lead his men and, after recommending him for the silver star and the purple heart, immediately relieves him of his commission and orders him back to a desk job in Washington DC. Loyalty to the men under one's command must be subservient to the pragmatics of the battlefield.

The second relationship, based on love, is that between Private Bell (Ben Chaplin) and his wife Marty (Miranda Otto), and is dealt with rather abstractly by Malick. It is much more central to the 1964 version of the film, where it is transposed into the relationship between Private Doll and one 'Judy'. In Jones's novel, Bell is a former army officer who had been a First Lieutenant in the Philippines. He and his wife had an extraordinarily close, intense relationship ('We were always very sexual together', he confesses to Fife), and after spending four months separated from his wife in the jungle, he decided that he'd had enough and resigned his commission. As retribution, the US Army said that they would make sure he was drafted, and, moreover, drafted into the infantry as a private. All that we see of the relationship in the film, however, are a series of dream images of Bell with Marty, what Jones calls 'weird transcendental images of Marty's presence'. Then, after the battle, we hear Bell reading a letter from his wife saying that she has left him for an Air Force captain.

After the failures of loyalty and love, the theme of truth is treated in the third relationship, and this is what I would like to concentrate on. The characters here are Sergeant Welsh, played with consummate craft by Sean Penn, and Private Witt. The question at issue here is metaphysical truth; or, more precisely, whether there is such a thing as metaphysical truth. Baldly stated: is this the only world, or is there another world? The conflict is established in the first dialogue between the two soldiers, after Witt has been incarcerated for going AWOL in a Melanesian village (the scenes of somewhat cloying communal harmony that open the film). Welsh says, 'in this world, a man himself is nothing . . . and there ain't no world but this one'. To which Witt replies, 'You're wrong there, I seen another world. Sometimes I think it's just my imagination'. And Welsh completes the thought: 'Well, you're seeing something I never will'. Welsh is a sort of physicalist egoist who is contemptuous of everything. Jones writes: 'Everything amused Welsh . . . Politics amused him, religion amused him, particularly ideals and integrity amused him; but most of all human virtue amused him. He did not believe in it and did not believe in any of those other words.'

Behind this complete moral nihilism, the only thing in which Welsh believes is property. He refuses to let Starros commend him for a silver star after an act of extraordinary valour in which he dodged hails of bullets to give morphine to a buddy dying on the battlefield, and quips, 'Property, the whole fucking thing's about property'. War is fought for property, one nation against another nation. The war is taking place in service of a lie, the lie of property. You either believe the lie or you die, like Witt. Welsh says -- and it is a sentiment emphasized in the book and both versions of the film -- 'Everything is a lie. Only one thing a man can do, find something that's his, make an island for himself'. It is only by believing that, and shutting his eyes to the bloody lie of war, that he can survive. Welsh's physicalism is summarised in the phrase that in many ways guides the 1964 version of the film and which appears briefly in Malick: 'It's only meat'. The human being is meat and only this belief both exposes the lie and allows one to survive -- and Welsh survives.

Facing Welsh's nihilistic physicalism is what we might call Witt's metaphysical panpsychism, caught in the question, 'Maybe all men got one big soul, that everybody's a part of -- all faces are the same man, one big self'. Witt is the questioner, the contemplator, the mystic. Much of what he says is in the form of questions -- the very piety of thinking for Heidegger -- and not the assertions propounded by Welsh. Unflinchingly brave in combat, with absolutely no thought of his own safety, and prepared to sacrifice himself for his comrades, Witt views all things and persons with an impassive constancy, and sees beauty and goodness in all things. Where Welsh sees only the pain caused by human selfishness, Witt looks at the same scenes and feels the glory. He is like a redemptive angel looking into the souls of soldiers and seizing hold of their spark. It is this metaphysical commitment which fuels both Witt's selfless courage in combat and his compassion for the enemy. In one of the most moving scenes of the film, he looks into the face of a dead Japanese soldier, half-buried in the dirt -- which speaks to him with a prophecy of his own fate -- 'Are you loved by all? Know that I was. Do you imagine that your sufferings will be less because you loved goodness, truth?' In their final dialogue, Witt says that he still sees a spark in Sergeant Welsh. The truth is, I think, that Welsh is half in love with Witt, and behind his nihilism there is a grudging but total respect for Witt's commitment. Welsh cannot believe what Witt believes, he cannot behold the glory. And yet, he is also unable to feel nothing, to feel numb to the suffering that surrounds him. As a consequence, he is in profound pain. In tears, at the foot of Witt's grave, Welsh asks, 'Where's your spark now?', which might as well be a question to himself.

As in the two other relationships, there seems to be a clear winner and loser. As Welsh predicts in their second dialogue, the reward for Witt's metaphysical commitment will be death. Loyalty to one's men leads to dismissal from one's position, loyalty in love leads to betrayal, and loyalty to a truth greater than oneself leads to death. Yet, Malick is too intelligent to make didactic art. Truth consists in the conflict, or series of conflicts, between positions; and in watching those conflicts unravel, we are instructed, deepened. This conflict is particularly clear in the depiction of war itself. For this is not simply an anti-war film and has none of the post-adolescent bombast of Francis Ford Coppola's _Apocalypse Now_ (1979), the cloying self-righteousness of Oliver Stone's _Platoon_ (1986), or the gnawing, sentimental nationalism of _Saving Private Ryan_ (1998). One of the voiceovers states: 'War don't ennoble men. It turns them into dogs. Poisons the soul.' But this view has to be balanced with a central message of the film: namely, that there is a total risk of the self in battle, an utter emptying of the self, that does not produce egoism, but rather a powerful bond of compassionate love for one's comrades and even for one's enemy. The inhumanity of war lets one see through the fictions of a people, a tribe, or a nation towards a common humanity. The imponderable question is why it should require such suffering to bring us to this recognition

Last edited by Gordon; 01-23-2013 at 04:55 PM..
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2013, 05:10 PM
It's a fantastic film and one of the better films of the 90s. It's long, but I think it's one of his more focused films and the ending is a thing of beauty. I still think Badlands is his best film by a mile (in my top 10 of all-time), but The Thin Red Line certainly takes the #2 slot.

Last edited by Bourne101; 01-12-2013 at 05:14 PM..
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2013, 05:26 PM
Yes to all of what you guys have said so far. There are certainly flaws in the movie, like some of the casting decisions, but they are minor compared to the beauty this movie achieves.

Martin Scorsese also had it on his Top Ten of the 90's list when he co-hosted with Roger Ebert. Actually, I found Scorsese's whole list in general to be more interesting than Ebert's rather boring one, even though most of the movies are great ones.

Last edited by Matchbox225; 01-12-2013 at 05:28 PM..
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2013, 02:17 PM
I enjoyed this movie a lot. the only small quarrel I had was the scene of the bird dying. It was hard for me to feel any pity for the bird.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:28 PM
I'm on record here, repeatedly, in expressing my love for this one.

Malick has yet to make a film that didn't bury itself deep in my head and give me things to consider and savor for months and years afterward.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2013, 06:54 AM
I gotta say, very pretty movie, but so, so, overwhelmingly boring.
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2013, 08:51 PM
This one is in my top twenty, if not ten, of all time. I remember the year it came out, the year when another WWII film was making splashier waves due to the director and star who made it, and I was losing my mind over how much better Thin Red Line was, in every respect.

My favorite film from one of my favorite filmmakers working today. Endlessly re-watchable, one of the most beautiful looking blu rays I own... I can go on and go with how much I fucking love this movie to death.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2013, 03:58 PM
Boring as fuck. Somewhere in there was probably a decent 90 minute movie. Given the chance to sit through this again, I think I'd rather poke my eye for three hours.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2013, 04:53 PM
I first saw this film with my uncle, when I was just a kid - I distinctly remember how "sad" it was - at the time. When I watched it again years later I fell in love with it. Malick isn't for everyone. He appeals to a certain type of personality. I hate the badmouthing he gets from people who simply don't like his films. Hey, it's boring to you - but the two and a half hours flew by for me. This is one of the best war films there is, largely because it touches upon so many elements of what it is to be human amidst something as horrible as war between people - own kind. Great film, I rewatch it constantly.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2013, 04:54 PM
I'm sad no one has anything to say about Critchley's interpretation
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2013, 05:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
Boring as fuck. Somewhere in there was probably a decent 90 minute movie. Given the chance to sit through this again, I think I'd rather poke my eye for three hours.
agree
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2013, 05:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digifruitella View Post
IMalick isn't for everyone. He appeals to a certain type of personality. I hate the badmouthing he gets from people who simply don't like his films. Hey, it's boring to you - but the two and a half hours flew by for me. This is one of the best war films there is, largely because it touches upon so many elements of what it is to be human amidst something as horrible as war between people - own kind. Great film, I rewatch it constantly.
Agreed completely, especially the bolded part.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:58 PM
It's really easy to use the boring criticism on someone like Malick because his films aren't about narrative.

I didn't love The Tree Of Life and I'll even admit I got bored a little through some of it, but I still applaud Malick for making completely unique films. I do plan on giving the movie a rewatch sometime and I'll see where I stand then.

Last edited by Matchbox225; 01-23-2013 at 07:00 PM..
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2013, 10:41 PM
The first two hours are a masterpiece. The movie does slow down considerably during a chunk of the third hour but the ending is great. Overall though it's a fantastic movie. A near masterwork.

The whole cast is great with special mention going to Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn and especially Nick Nolte who is positively riveting in his part.
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2013, 07:57 AM
Different strokes, for different folks obviously. Badbird has Expendables 2 and John Carter in his top ten of 2012 so that tells me pretty much everything about his taste in movies and it doesn't surprise me one bit that he thinks The Thin Red Line is boring. What surprises me is that he even attempts to watch any Malick movies to begin with.

Personally, I wish the film was its original 6 hour cut because I can have that shit on loop all day and not be bored for one second.

Gordon: I didn't get a chance to read Critchley's thoughts yet, but once I do i'll throw in my thoughts
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  #17  
Old 01-25-2013, 09:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
Different strokes, for different folks obviously. Badbird has Expendables 2 and John Carter in his top ten of 2012 so that tells me pretty much everything about his taste in movies and it doesn't surprise me one bit that he thinks The Thin Red Line is boring. What surprises me is that he even attempts to watch any Malick movies to begin with.
ilovemovies will have something to say about that.

Expendables 2, however, I just don't know what to say there. :shrugs:
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  #18  
Old 01-25-2013, 11:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
Different strokes, for different folks obviously. Badbird has Expendables 2 and John Carter in his top ten of 2012 so that tells me pretty much everything about his taste in movies and it doesn't surprise me one bit that he thinks The Thin Red Line is boring. What surprises me is that he even attempts to watch any Malick movies to begin with.
Oh, burn! You're right. I have no taste in movies. It's as if my opinions were my own and not identical to anyone else.

I saw about fifty movies in 2012 and made a list of the ten I liked the most. You may have noticed I had a French movie as the best of the year as well as The Perks of being a Wallflower in my top five - which makes no sense. Why I would put that on my list as there was a considerable lack of Sylvester Stallone in that movie? It's as if I can enjoy multiple film genres and have different opinions for any film in those genres.

Huh. Weird.


And the reason I "attempted" to watch the movie is because it was nominated for Best Picture and I usually try to see all those movies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
Personally, I wish the film was its original 6 hour cut because I can have that shit on loop all day and not be bored for one second.
I was expecting someone to bring that up. No. No you don't. You would be bored out of your skull. These phantom, super-extended cuts that people like to talk about are not, in fact, actual "cuts" of the movie (see also: four hour cut of Dark Knight Rises), but simply the assembly cut where they literally throw everything they have together and then decide what to cut. No care is taken into timing or a coherent plot (but, let's be honest about that second point, it is a Mallick film, after all...).
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  #19  
Old 01-26-2013, 02:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
I had a French movie as the best of the year
Wow, you liked a French movie? How progressive of you. On behalf of all French people everywhere, I applaud you for having such a tolerance for boredom that you're able to put up with our culture for a whole two hours without wanting to murder yourself.

Last edited by Gordon; 01-26-2013 at 02:19 AM..
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2013, 08:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
Oh, burn! You're right. I have no taste in movies. It's as if my opinions were my own and not identical to anyone else.

I saw about fifty movies in 2012 and made a list of the ten I liked the most. You may have noticed I had a French movie as the best of the year as well as The Perks of being a Wallflower in my top five - which makes no sense. Why I would put that on my list as there was a considerable lack of Sylvester Stallone in that movie? It's as if I can enjoy multiple film genres and have different opinions for any film in those genres.

Huh. Weird.


And the reason I "attempted" to watch the movie is because it was nominated for Best Picture and I usually try to see all those movies.
You feel burned? I never said you had no taste...just different taste. You jumped to that conclusion all by yourself. I'm all for individuality and freedom of thought. But none of that takes away from the fact that if you can include Expendables 2 and its coherent plot as one of the best from the 50 you saw, it's unlikely that you'd like any Malick film, especially a war film that has very little war in it. Did you like Saving Private Ryan more?

The Intouchables is a bad movie imo, you liking it has pretty much nothing to do with you despising The Thin Red Line. But if you told me that you put Expendables 2 in your top 10 and then tell me you'd rather swallow rusty nails than watch The Thin Red Line again I'd be like "yeah, that makes sense..." It's great that you're original like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
I was expecting someone to bring that up. No. No you don't. You would be bored out of your skull. These phantom, super-extended cuts that people like to talk about are not, in fact, actual "cuts" of the movie (see also: four hour cut of Dark Knight Rises), but simply the assembly cut where they literally throw everything they have together and then decide what to cut. No care is taken into timing or a coherent plot (but, let's be honest about that second point, it is a Mallick film, after all...).
This paragraph kind of goes into a nice circle. Since it's a Malick film, and a plot is really not that big of deal considering everything else, I don't think I'd be so bored with the mythical cut. But it sounds like you made up my mind for me already.


Gordon,

I read that Critchley piece. It's very nice, and I like what he says about the Welsh / Witt dynamic (though I don't know if I'd go as far as saying Welsh was half in love with Witt but he definitely wished he could believe and see the world through Witt's eyes) and next to Toll's relationship with war, the Welsh/Witt aspect is my favorite from the film. The scene when Welsh says he feels alone only when he's around people is a personal highlight. I especially love the last bit about how there is clearly a higher level of understanding about what it means to be in war and the balance of the suffering and the humanity in the inhumanity. He's definitely on to something.

Last edited by DaMovieMan; 01-26-2013 at 08:34 PM..
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  #21  
Old 01-26-2013, 11:55 PM
.

Last edited by SS-Block; 03-31-2014 at 04:27 PM..
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  #22  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchbox225 View Post
ilovemovies will have something to say about that.

Expendables 2, however, I just don't know what to say there. :shrugs:
Damn right! John Carter is awesome and currently sits on my top 10 of the year as well. Although by the time I've seen all that I need to see, it probably won't. But it will be on my honorable mentions list still.

And while I don't think Expendables 2 is top 10 material, I still love that movie and think it's one of the best purely entertaining popcorn flicks of the year.
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  #23  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan View Post
Gordon,

I read that Critchley piece. It's very nice, and I like what he says about the Welsh / Witt dynamic (though I don't know if I'd go as far as saying Welsh was half in love with Witt but he definitely wished he could believe and see the world through Witt's eyes) and next to Toll's relationship with war, the Welsh/Witt aspect is my favorite from the film. The scene when Welsh says he feels alone only when he's around people is a personal highlight.
Mostly this, although the jab at Apocalypse Now at the end rubbed me the wrong way. Apocalypse Now is far and away a better film, in my opinion.

Last edited by Bourne101; 01-27-2013 at 12:52 PM..
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  #24  
Old 01-27-2013, 01:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badbird View Post
Boring as fuck. Somewhere in there was probably a decent 90 minute movie. Given the chance to sit through this again, I think I'd rather poke my eye for three hours.
LOL WOW. Where do you live? I will bring you a copy and hand you the chopsticks.




I saw this in the theater and have not seen it since. Someone mentioned something about Malick not being for everyone. It was long, boring and a bit lost. There were some very good elements in there. If about 45 mins was hacked off, it could have been much, much more. The score was amazing.
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