The year is 1998 and America is in a much different place than it is today. Big-time movies and A-list actors still control the entertainment landscape, Blockbuster still exists, and movies are now in the 'everything after Titanic' phase. The following year, Director Steven Spielberg releases his classic war epic, Saving Private Ryan, with one of the best 'opening' sequences in cinema history and the recipient of five Oscars. The same year, Director Terrence Malick releases another WWII film titled The Thin Red Line with a star-studded cast and a glimpse into the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The Pacific Front, which was fought as an entirely different war, Malick takes on a part of history that isn't discussed as often as D-Day and the storming of the beaches of Normandy. With Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg takes a stance on the patriotism of America and the great men that have stood their ground fighting for this country. In The Thin Red Line, Malick presents a different opinion and viewpoint on war -- with a level of beauty and grittiness that is unmatched in its 1998 counterpart. Now, if you are looking for intense war scenes, graphic battle sequences, incredible sound design and a visceral war experience, Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war movies of all-time. However, in The Thin Red Line, war and battle are almost after thoughts to the inner battles each character faces in taking the lives of other men.
From unique voiceovers to scenes juxtaposed with nature and the destruction of man, The Thin Red Line uses the beauty of nature to show how man always puts himself first in order to get ahead in the world. After watching this film, I sat in great silence for 15-20 minutes after the credits rolled, and contemplated life on this earth. I couldn't imagine being thousands of miles from home engaged in the heart and brutality of jungle warfare. While both films differ greatly in film style, color, technique, message, theme and so much more, I am writing this as an appreciation letter for the greatness that is The Thin Red Line.
Got a few hours this weekend?
Rent it on Amazon for $3.99 here.
Check out a little sneak peak below: