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The Thin Red Line (1998)

8. The Thin Red Line (1998)

dir. Terrence Malick

4 of 11

Director Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, Badlands) waited twenty years after making Days of Heaven before endeavoring on his next motion picture—the World War II epic The Thin Red Line.  Based on James Jones’ semi-autobiographical novel, Malick’s film covers a group of American soldiers at the Battle of the Guadalcanal.  Malick had no problem finding players with a talented ensemble cast consisting of Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, Jim Caviezel, John Travolta, Jared Leto, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Adrien Brody, and John Cusack.  Malick’s trademark natural lighting and attention to detail give the film an organic, less gimmicky take on combat.  While technically fiction, lit critics cite the film as following Jones’ experience as well as his novel and exceeding the 1964 film of the same title.

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