"The Thin Red Line" feels like an extension of the second film, in which a narrator muses on the underlying tragedy that is sometimes shown on the screen, sometimes implied.Both films are founded on a transcendental sense that all natural things share their underlying reality in the mind of God.
The film opens with a question: "Why does nature contend with itself? Later, as men prove more deadly than crocodiles, it shows a 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 (and eating each other, either literally or figuratively). Two soldiers have gone AWOL and live blissfully with tribal people who exist in a pre-lapsarian state, eating the fruit that falls from the trees and the fish that leap from the seas, and smiling contentedly at the bounty of Eden.
After the release of his second film, Days of Heaven (1978), Terrence Malick disappeared from movie screens for two decades.
There were rumors that he was attached to various projects as a writer or director (including Che, an epic that Steven Soderbergh eventually directed), but aside from that, there was nary a peep—until 1998, when he re-emerged with The Thin Red Line.
For defying his superior's officers, the captain is offered first a court martial, later a Silver Star and then a Purple Heart. He is also transferred stateside by the colonel, and instead of insisting on staying with his men, he confesses he is rather happy to be going. The battle scenes themselves are masterful, in creating a sense of the geography of a particular hill, the way it is defended by Japanese bunkers, the ways in which the American soldiers attempt to take it.
Essay On The Thin Red Line
The camera crouches low in the grass, and as Malick focuses on locusts or blades of grass, we are reminded that a battle like this must have taken place with the soldiers' eyes inches from the ground.Sometimes during an action we are not sure who we are watching, and have to piece it together afterward.I am sure battle is like that, but I'm not sure that was Malick's point: I think he was just not much interested in the destinies and personalities of individual characters.This is, the movie implies, a society that reflects man's best nature.But reality interrupts when the two soldiers are captured and returned to their Army company for the assault on a crucial hill on Guadalcanal.This video essay on The Thin Red Line is part of a series that also includes pieces on Badlands, Days of Heaven, and The New World.The actors in "The Thin Red Line" are making one movie, and the director is making another.Editor “RW” has long been preoccupied with one of these inserts from is ultimately a meditation on war, a philosophical treatise played out through a spectrum of dozens of actors and perspectives all melding into a contemplative amalgam on life, death, and pretty much everything in-between.As such, Malick includes lots of imagery to convey his message, one such being a split-second flash of red in the middle of a battle scene.Terrence Malick as a filmic storyteller isn’t preoccupied so much with using narrative to advance his message as he is with visual poesy doing the job instead.What you see in a Malick film is often more important that what you hear, and on occasion the director’s been known to use inserts – non-linear imagery that flashes between frames too fast to be registered by the consciousness – to communicate directly to our emotions, by-passing our rationale and intellect in the process.