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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematographer's dream - a visual poem!
This is by no means a conventional war film but it is, nonetheless, one of the finest portrayals of war that you are ever likely to see. The film was not on my radar and I discovered it more by accident than design. It was first released in 1998 and was somewhat eclipsed by `Saving Private Ryan' which was released slightly earlier. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards this...
Published on 19 May 2011 by Nigel Mc

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars confusing but bloody.
Good fight scenes but very confusing story line with no real aim or main plot. Would describe as an average film but wouldn't watch again.
Published 1 month ago by Charlie Dawson


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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cinematographer's dream - a visual poem!, 19 May 2011
By 
Nigel Mc (The Chilterns) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This is by no means a conventional war film but it is, nonetheless, one of the finest portrayals of war that you are ever likely to see. The film was not on my radar and I discovered it more by accident than design. It was first released in 1998 and was somewhat eclipsed by `Saving Private Ryan' which was released slightly earlier. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards this film failed to get a single Oscar. The more that I learn about the way these award systems operate and the complexities of the whole film distribution system, the less confidence I have of their value. In many ways `the Thin Red Line' is superior to Spielberg's war epic.

Directed by the reclusive Terrence Malick, the film is an adaptation of a World War II novel by James Jones (From Here to Eternity) about the battle for Guadalcanal. American soldiers land on the island hoping to secure it from the Japanese. This film does not follow the usual path taken by other war stories and unlike `Ryan' - which begins explosively, this film takes about 40 minutes before a single shot is fired! This long prologue is used to good effect as an introduction to the main characters and some carefully selected flashbacks to their lives pre-war. The tension to the film is slowly uncoiled as the troopships approach Guadalcanal Island. This is done quietly and thoughtfully and gives the viewer a good idea of the stresses and anxieties of the soldiers as they approach this life-changing situation.

The story is told through the eyes of 5 men of C Company and the visual images are simply amazing. This is where Malick excels. He has produced a film that is a cinematographer's dream where almost every shot is carefully composed as if it was to be entered in a photographic exhibition. I watched the film in the newly restored Blu-ray version and the video is absolutely fantastic with superb colour palette and pristine sharp pictures throughout. I watched this dvd through a projector and the video quality is one of the finest I have ever seen - and that includes some pretty stiff competition.

Of course, there have been many fine war films and who am I to say whether this film is better than `Saving Private Ryan', `Apocalypse Now' or the Oliver Stone Trilogy. It is certainly up there with the very best and for my money it is sufficiently unique to stand out from the crowd. All human characteristics are shown in this film, bravery, fear, uncertainty, blind ambition to name but a few. However, for me the overwhelming image is of the chaos of war and uncertainty of such a fast moving situation. For a lot of the time the enemy cannot be seen and with explosions and gunfire all around you it is not difficult to imagine casualties caused by friendly fire. It is havoc and the film graphically shows the toll that all this takes on soldiers both in terms of exhaustion - both mental and physical, pain, injury, disillusionment and ultimately death.

However, notwithstanding this reality the film is much, much more than this. I found the violence less graphic than in Ryan and the director takes efforts not to dwell on unnecessary gratuitous violent images. This film is very much a visual, as well as a vocal poem. The film uses hauntingly beautiful music throughout both by the highly talented Hans Zimmer and also by other classical composers. Early on in the film there is an extract from `In paradisum' from Faure's Requiem. This beautiful piece of music is used in a water scene and the combined effect of the music and cinematography is simply amazing. There are many other scenes where the camera is used in taking shots from unusual angles and this gives an enhanced effect to the scene as is the case when a young woman is swinging on a child's swing. Poetry in motion!

The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and it is magnificent. There are a number of excellent extras on this film including an interesting actors perspective and an interview with Hans Zimmer - both in high definition. I have not yet had time to look at the other extras.

This is a truly wonderful film. Highly recommended,
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Thin Red Line” on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK Buyers With ‘US’ Release (Available Region Free Here)…, 1 Mar 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Criterion Collection: Thin Red Line [Blu-ray] [1998] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
Terrence Malick’s beautifully filmed and emotionally engaging World War II epic “The Thin Red Line” is available on ‘BLU RAY’ in several regions – and has been for some time now. But which issue do you buy if you live in Blighty?

Unfortunately the sought-after American Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED - although it doesn't say so on Amazon. So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't). Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily the UK version is REGION B - so the movie will play on all UK machines.

So check your player’s region coding acceptability if you want the pricier Criterion release…or opt for the local release that weighs in at a far cheaper price…
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pacifica, 1 Sep 2005
By 
C. J. Statham - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This film shatters the standard convetions for a war film and gently replaces them with an intrinsic, poetic and beautifully rendered piece of film making. From start to finish the quality of the photography is fantastic and the director's faultless talent to depict vivid environments is wonderfully illustrated with seamless editing.
A scene depicting two soldiers getting shot while approaching a bunker is superbly complimented by the sun peaking out from the clouds just after they have fallen and disappeared into the tall grass. The absolute tension and thick air of the pre-dawn build-up to the attack with Nick Nolte and John Travolta is one of the greatest scenes of tension I have witnessed.
Personal narratives and agendas throughout the film flood the viewer with emotions and feelings that you wouldn't normally associate with a war film. The soundtrack here is also one of the film's strong points and effortlessly entwines itself into the path of the edits. Engrossing, beautiful and an absolute pleasure to immerse yourself into.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "In paradisum' from Faure's Requiem.., 5 Jun 2011
This Terreence Malick epic looks stunning on blue-ray. It is worth the extra cash for the purchase. I own the VHS, the dvd, both soundtracks and now this blue-Ray.

Malick is the last true Poet of maverick American Cinema. His movies follow no conventions or rules; his career follows no rules or conventions. Thin Red Line (nominated for seven Oscars) opens with a question:
"Why does nature contend with itself?"
It shows a crocodile- a killing machine. Moments later, we see men (soldiers) who prove more deadly than crocodiles; we see a dying bird- its wing shattered by gunfire, pulling itself along the ground. In a way the film is not about war at all, but simply about the way in which all living beings are founded on the necessity of killing one another.

After 20 years away from film-making, elusive director Terence Malick returned with this freeform WW2 movie based on the James Jones books ('Thin Red Line' and extracts from the classic 'From here to Eternity'), which floats around the WW2 battle for Guadalcanal, pondering the place of conflict and pondering our place on this planet and the eternal scheme of things. The films essence lies not with the famous actors, but in Malick's fusion of abstract voice-overs and stunning images over beautiful music (Hans Zimmer and Melanesian chanting). It's a richly textured, slowly paced, visually stunning epic of the effects of war that hypnotises the viewer with its tapestry of sights, sounds and colours.

"This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed to this night?"

This amazing movie is a tone poem that may throw some mentally Challenged viewers through its use of interior monologues and lack of action.

"Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? The brother. The friend. Darkness, light. Strife and love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face? Oh, my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining."

Malick was 57 years old when he directed this epic. It would be great if we could use stem cell research to knock 30 years off his age. Perhaps then we could give him a billion pounds to make a dozenn or two dozen films to last through the ages......no?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Meaningless War, 4 July 2014
The director wants you to ask why war? Its slow and deliberate. The message is there all the time.Why in paradise do we choose to fight each other, "property". If you are looking for an action packed, fast paced war movie this is not it. It reminded me of the feelings I had watching Apocalypse Now. I had expected a conventional shoot em up.

This is a beautifully shot film. Very poignant.

Ignore the cameos by Travolta and Clooney.

Penn and Cazaviels lead some strong acting performances.

Some of the reviewers have suggested soldiers do not think of their loved ones or the meaning of life during battle.I cannot say as I have never served. But I am certain those that lay down their lives still have time to think.

An excellent film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Jun 2014
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Absolutely amazing film! Even though it's daily dated, it's so good. Came quickly too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII in the Pacific, 21 Jun 2014
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Shows the American Army in combat against the Japanese, normally most films show the USMC involved taking islands one after another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art not Action, 6 Jun 2014
By 
Bob (Merseyside) - See all my reviews
Terrence Malik's style won't be to everybody's taste. If you're expecting Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Letters From Iwo Jima, or even Apocalypse Now, you should know that this doesn't have the straightforward narrative structure of those films. It's more like a snapshot in the life of a unit, interspersed with some individual memories and internal monologues, and with beautiful visuals as we simply observe the time and place.

The aforementioned monologues sound like carefully crafted prose delivered by actors rather than ordinary men, which might be a step too far from reality for some viewers. I found the purely visual flashbacks of a previous life or loved one more affecting. Moments of tension, action, terror and madness occasionally bring you back to reality, but I expect 'dreamlike' is an adjective more often applied to Malik's films. Films like this are best watched alone in my opinion, something to lose yourself in rather than be gripped by.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'WAR'S HARSH REALITIES', 8 Feb 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Criterion Collection: Thin Red Line [Blu-ray] [1998] [US Import] (Blu-ray)
This another movie I haven't re-visited for some time (I bought the Import version
when released a while back) my previous viewing of the film was on the 'DVD'
format.
The film was a big-budget production, of around $52,000.000, among the lead cast
'Sean Penn' 'Adrien Brody' 'Jim Caviezel' 'Woody Harrelson' and 'Nick Nolte'
It tells the story of an 'American' military operation in 'Guadal-Canal' which is to
stop the 'Japanese' forces advance.
We follow the fortunes of a unit as they try to advance toward enemy positions, the
'Japanese' controlling the 'Jungle' and much of the high-ground on the Island.
They soon come under fire, casualties mounting, when an order is given to 'Captain
Staros' to take the hill by 'Lt Col Gordon Tall' he refuses, believing the cost would be
too high.
The film considered by many to be a classic, is indeed thought provoking with many
graphic sequences along with an in-depth insight into the 'emotional' strain of battle,
the fear, the concequences.
It certainly displays the horror from both sides of the divide, a harsh look at the theatre
of war.
The movie has been given a superb upgrade to the HD standard, superb picture and
sound quality.
Features included (I am not 100% certain that ''all'' the extras on board apply to the
region 'B' release, however I see no reason why it would be any different)
:Commentaries and interviews with both cast and crew.
; 14 minutes of outtakes (always popular)
: World War 2' Newsreel from 'Guatal-Canal' and the 'Solomon Islands'
: Melansian Chants'
: Original Theatrical trailer.
: With this Import it also includes an interesting 'Booklet'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why did this film not win a single Oscar???!!!!, 21 Nov 2013
By 
B. D. Compton "Gettysburg" (Johannesburg,South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Terrence Mallick's war film about the Guadacanal invasion by the Americans in WW2 is not your usual war film, but it is one that should not be missed as it is quite superb in almost every department.

Do not make comparisons with 'Band of Brothers' or 'Saving Private Ryan' since this film shows the horrors of war in an entirely different fashion, spending considerable time on a soldiers innermost thoughts about his role in war and life itself. It is absolutely fascinating and although not a shot is fired in the first 40 minutes the suspense is palpable aided by a simple but entirely apt musical score that is both haunting and frightening.

The cinematograghy(The film was shot in the Soloman Islands and Queensland Australia) is breathtaking and entirely in tune with the storyline. It is equal and in some ways better than 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Band of Brothers'as 'c' company makes it's way through the sugar cane to capture a hill, heavily fortified by the Japs but seen as vital by the commander to success in the invasion. The suspense is unbearable at times and the choices made very disturbing.

The acting by an outstanding cast, some of whom do not play a significant role, is excellent and yet comes 2nd to the physcology of the film. If i have any criticism, it is virtually at the end of the film when the overall commander of the operation sums up what a company of soldiers is all about. This is played by George Clooney and for me it did not come across by him. In fact he was totally miscast but i may be biased as i do not think he is a very good actor. However, this is a short scene, and does not detract from the overall brilliance of this film.

It was nominated for 7 Awards and came away with nothing, which to me was a travesty of justice. Still the Oscar Acadamy Awards are not renowned for choosing the best films and awards by and large. Do not be put off this war film as it is a classic and should not be missed.
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Criterion Collection: Thin Red Line [Blu-ray] [1998] [US Import]
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