Movie Review: The Thin Red Line

thin red line poster

Should be called The Long Boring Movie.

I guess this was the formula in 1998.  Make a movie about WW2.  Make it long.  Include a bunch of famous actors.  Like Saving Private Ryan.

Except Saving Private Ryan was good.  It had a plot.  It had a build up.  It had a climax.  Basic cinematic elements.

I realize what the makers of The Thin Red Line were trying to do.  Their theme was something along the lines of “war is pointless”.

Well in some cases war doesn’t have a great point.  So it’s not an idea completely without merit.

The Hurt Locker was a movie with a similar theme.

The Hurt Locker Movie

However The Hurt Locker went about exemplifying that theme in a more fair way.  They showed the soldiers nobility in attempting to do their mission, however pointless the mission was portrayed to be.  The only few noble characters in The Thin Red Line were the characters who were skeptical of the war or war strategy.  We were attacked in Pearl Harbor, which the movies makers made no mention of that context.

In the Hurt Locker, at least some of the objectives are portrayed as noble and worthy.  Such as the scenes where Jeremy Renner diffusing bombs.  That likely saved lives.  Unlike The Thin Red Line, they put no context on the war efforts they were portraying.  The equation seemed to be:  War = Evil.

Of course this is a theme Hollywood loves.  They would love to believe war is never justified.  It’s uncomfortable.  Who likes war?  I don’t know of anyone.  Who likes police getting into conflicts with people?  Who likes teachers disciplining students?  There are points to conflicts, even if conflicts are unpleasant.  Sometimes such conflicts can yield good.  If a student corrects his behavior and character.  If a criminal is stopped from doing someone harm.  If a country like Japan or Germany stops attacking other countries.

The makers of this movie didn’t seem to get that.

Instead they played to the bleeding heart part of us that is uncomfortable with conflict.  With slow meandering narratives.  Soft playing sappy music in the background.  Heavy-handed.

The story itself was not much better.  The missions were slow and chaotic.  “That’s the point, war is chaos.”  Ok, but slow-walking it like they did is like another means of brow-beating.

If I could say one good thing about this movie, the camera work from the ground level point of view of the soldiers allows you to see things from their perspective.  That was interesting.

Lots of famous actors in this movie.  Some that likely were attracted to a theme like this.

thin red line movie

It was a long, massively melodramatic movie with almost no redeeming qualities.  Grade:  D-

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