Kill yourself now, Terence Malick.
I can’t believe this tripe, which seems to have been conceived and filmed between acid trips, actually was nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award.What the hell is this bloated, pompous piece of shit war epic ABOUT???
Allegedly based on a James Jones novel, THE THIN RED LINE features NO narrative, no flow from one scene to the next, everything thrown together at random. The only connective thread was a lot of high hippie philosophizing about the universal soul and the fellowship of man, or something (despite the fact this is supposed to be World War II--the battle for Guadalcanal--not Vietnam)—like Malick decided to set to film the Cliff’s Notes paraphrase of Emerson’s Essays (with crucial pages torn out).
James Redfield’s THE CELESTINE PROPHECY, as putrid as it is, is actually more “spiritual” than what Malick makes his characters say here. If Redfield and Malick faced off in a creative writing contest, I think Redfield would win.
I wondered at times if the projector had lost a reel, like they missed out a whole section of the movie. Then I discovered Malick edited it down to three hours out of, like, eight hours of footage. That explains why John Travolta appears for two minutes, George Clooney for like ten seconds. (Lucky them: nobody will remember “The Thin Red Line” was ever on their resumés, though Travolta won’t have the same good fortune with Battlefield Earth.) Obviously Malick had no idea what kind of movie he was making here, or what the story was. There was no story.
Nick Nolte is about the only cast member who musters a serviceable performance, but I can't blame the other cast members for their failure. There's nothing you can do with material like this.If you must see an adaptation of a James Jones novel, make it “From Here to Eternity,” otherwise your evening will feel like an eternity.