In 1998, after a 20-year absence, Terrence Malick, the legendary director of “Badlands” and “Days of Heaven,” returned to filmmaking with “The Thin Red Line.” To this day, the film has a polarizing effect on its viewers – you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I loved it. In fact, I would argue that “The Thin Red Line” is a perfect film, in the sense that it works completely on its own terms. Suffice it to say, the film is not your typical Hollywood war film. Rather, it is anything but. From a technical standpoint, it does everything “wrong.” It features multiple voice-overs by multiple characters…it features multiple points-of-view…it’s full of flashbacks…In short, it does everything that film school tells you not to do. And, yet, it works completely, beautifully, and, dare I say, poetically. In retrospect, I’m not sure if I fell in love with the film when I first saw it in the theater or, a year earlier, when I was reading reports from the set. According to one such report, Malick's unconventional filming techniques included shooting part of a scene during a bright, sunny morning only to finish it weeks later at sunset. He would make a habit of pointing the camera away during an action sequence and focus on a parrot, a tree branch or other fauna. And, when his tireless pursuit of photographing rare flora and fauna threatened to make the film run over schedule, he would simply throw away scenes from his own scrīpt. That Malick had the sheer will to do that…I can’t imagine it. If any of you are interested in reading about the fascinating history behind this film, you can do so at:
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