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The Thin Red Line

Every man fights his own war 

Year: 1998 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

In World War II, the outcome of the battle of Guadalcanal will strongly influence the Japanese’s advance into the pacific. A group of young soldiers is brought in as a relief for the battle-weary Marine units. The exhausting fight for a key-positioned airfield that allows control over a 1000-mile radius puts the men of the Army Rifle company C-for-Charlie through hell.

The horrors of war forms the soldiers into a tight-knit group, their emotions develop into bonds of love and even family. The reasons for this war get further away as the world for the men gets smaller and smaller until their fighting is for mere survival and the life of the other men with them.

With a stunning cast the movie overshadows the other big World War 2 epic, Saving Private Ryan, by virtue of a better plot and by being far more poetic than Speilberg’s quest for reality through gore. Malick shot over a million feet of film and the original cut was 6 hours long, giving the actors time to get to know their characters and to turn in some powerful performances.

The thin red line is only Malick’s third film and his first for 20 years. His debut Badlands is regarded as one of the greatest directorial debuts of all time and his follow-up film Days of Heaven won an Oscar for best cinematography. Much was expected of his return to Hollywood, the thin red line didn’t disappoint collecting 7 Oscar nominations and thought by many to have been the best film of the year.

The cinematography is as ambitious and powerful as Apocalypse Now and the story hits home as hard as Platoon. In short this is one of the most powerful films of any genre, and without doubt among the best war films ever made.

John Hudson

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Autumn Term (35mm)
1999/2000 Autumn Term (35mm)