The Thin Red Line
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The return of director Terrence Malick to feature filmmaking after a twenty year sabbatical, this World War II drama is an elegiac rumination on man's destruction of nature and himself, based on James Jones' semi-autobiographical novel, his follow-up to From Here to Eternity. James Caviezel stars as Private Witt, a deserter living in peace and harmony with the natives of a Pacific island paradise. Captured by the Navy, Witt is debriefed by a senior officer (Sean Penn) and returned to an active duty unit preparing for what will be the Battle of Guadalcanal. As Witt goes ashore in the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 79%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's a genuinely epic ciné-poem that essentially sidesteps history, politics and conventional ethics to deal with war as an absolute, inevitable and eternal facet of existence."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"A complex, highly talented work marked by intellectual and philosophical ambitions!"
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"In the midst of life we may be in death, but the opposite is true as well."
‑ Michael Nordine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"Ultimately concerned less with specific tactical maneuvers or combat suffering than with the grand contradictions of life."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"The Thin Red Line would have been infinitely more successful without the frequent rest-stops full of mental malaise and philosophical pretense."
‑ Scott Weinberg,
"At two hours and 45 minutes, The Thin Red Line gives ample evidence of suffering all manner of cuts, if not having been simply hacked into its final shape. But this violence only adds to the movie's brave, strange, eroded nobility."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"One of the most harrowing of anti-war statements, and the most beautiful too."
‑ Christopher Runyon, Movie Mezzanine
"Though it is not only a great war film, perhaps not even primarily a great war film, it is assuredly a great war film."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"The Thin Red Line's hallucinatory blend of images defines the very essence of cinema."
‑ Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
"It makes you think and ask questions. Its characters contradict themselves, talking one way, acting another. And it ends abruptly, with many things unresolved. Like life."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Lyrical, meditative and original, Malick's WWII film is one of the best war films ever made."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
" gorgeous it feels as if it's being seen through heavenly eyes - at least until fresh hell rips across the screen."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"... one of the richest and lushest films ever to emerge from Hollywood."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Weekly
"Won't be a commercial hit, but it will rank at the top of my list of best movies of 1998."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
More reviews for The Thin Red Line on Rotten Tomatoes

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