The Thin Red Line

Review Date:
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Producers: Robert Geisler, Grant Hill, John Roberdeau
Nick Nolte
Sean Penn
Elias Koteas
Jim Caviezel
Ben Chaplin
Adrien Brody
This film could also have been titled “Deep Thoughts” by Terrence Malick. The recluse director, who actually beats fellow recluse director Stanley Kubrick in the number of years elapsed between movies (Malick’s last film was 20 years ago, while Kubrick’s only dates back 13), returns to Hollywood with a solid cast of names, and an attempt to recapture his brilliance from BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN.
This film may just be the best-looking movie of the year. It may also contain a solid cast of actors, effective tension when required, and a life-like feel of being in the bush with the boys. Unfortunately for this 170-minute, overdone, ode to philosophical poetry, this movie just doesn’t muster up enough real interest, plot development or character attachment, for anyone to give too much of a crap about its existential insights. There is a reoccurring narration that permeates the entire movie as the supposed thoughts of the soldiers, which is supposed to make us ponder life, death and everything in between. All it did for me was tinker the strings of boredom, as the long pauses between the words had me losing track of most of what was said, and feel like I was at a poetry hearing, instead of a movie theater. The last third of the film is especially guilty of this offense, as the director seemed to have overdosed on his own indulgences, and simply shot exquisite sceneries, and inserted scattered scenes of the boys and their apres-winning shenanigans. “Too many vague queries, and not enough developed thoughts make JoBlo a very uninterested boy.”

Acting-wise, this movie is rock-solid, with the lesser named actors pulling off the best gigs, as Jim Caviezel, Adrien Brody, Ben Chaplin and Elias Koteas stole the show from the rest of the big names. Within the better known clique, Nick Nolte jerked off an effective Colonel Tall, with his grimy impression of a man who lived to bark out orders and thrived on adversity. And if you’re actually thinking of checking into this movie, in the hopes of seeing your favorite actor, John Travolta or George Clooney, in action, then I suggest you think thrice about your move, cause they respectively carry five and one minute screen times in this ocular air-wafer. All in all, I would say that this film is a visual pearl caught up in a masturbatory web of overly-profound drivel, which is meant to stimulate the mind, but ultimately stretches itself too long, and into indifference. Having said that, the first couple of hours are pretty good, notably the tense-filled “battle for the hill”, and actors solid. So if you’re in the mood for Kierkegaard, I guess this movie might be your prescribed trip, as long as you don’t forget to bring your weed, beret and “thinker” glasses 🙂

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

The Thin Red Line