The Thin Red Line
Like a montage-y seance this film captures all the voices and emotions of war, and examines in full Malickian intensity the ephemeral ecstasy and brutality of our mortality. The lighting is distractingly show-stealing and the war violence is effective. Terrence Malick seems incapable of expressing a dense or nuanced concept without the use of montage and voice over-something that could be achieved with better written dialogue and more clever acting and camera work. And yet, you are taken on a voyage into war that dips in and out of conscious participation, which is totally appropriate.
The all star cast somehow gets washed out into the landscape of this film, and its lengthy and verbose quest for the meaning of war and life. Malick’s frustrating gender binary is ultra present in this film, and like so many white male directors, he cannot help but lump the native island inhabitants that open the film into a female binary where everyone is unspoiled, simple, driven by emotion, soft, gentle and sexual. Nick Nolte gives a personal, vivid performance as a bitter, passed over soldier with no war to prove his chops until the very end of his career.
Perhaps it’s my own personal bias, but I generally see voice over as a crutch, and I would be ecstatic to see Malick try for once to express these thoughts and feelings through dialogue and minimal use of montage. His over indulgence in this highly stylized practice is preventing his narrative voice from evolving and seeking new avenues of expression.
War movies: 5/10
All Movies: 5/10
5 of my favorite directors whose narrative voice evolves continuously :
The Coen Brothers