The Thin Red Line

Based on James Jones’s autobiographical novel of the same title that was unsuccessfully made into a film in 1964, The Thin Red Line has been nominated for an award as this year’s best film in raising the consciousness of filmviewers on the advantages of peaceful methods for resolving conflicts. Filmed in the Solomon Islands, where Jones participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the film exposes the innermost thoughts of battle participants, one of whom tells us that war turns humans into dogs. The film has received rave reviews for creating a kind of French impressionist canvass with its combination of poetic voice-overs, brutal action scenes, breathtaking cinematography of flora and fauna of Guadalcanal, everyday peaceful lives of Solomon Islanders, and pensive music. Thanks to director Terrence Malick, who may well have upstaged Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, we leave the theater no longer naïve about the consequences of committing troops, however noble the cause. MH