Thin Red Line
(By Gerry Wang)

(Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, John Cusack; directed by Terrence Malick)
Gerry Wang

_____We young-folk in the late 20th Century often take the sacrifice of our veterans for granted. We have no idea how it is to enlist in the army, go through boot camp, and leave home to go fight a war. All the while knowing that you might die and the only way you're coming back home might be in a coffin, if you're lucky enough to have your body salvaged.

_____In A THIN RED LINE, director Terrence Malick makes a anti-war statement in the form of an artistic, opaque, and ambiguous artistic film. I can't call this a movie. Nor can I call it a documentary. It doesn't really have a beginning. It doesn't really have an end. There aren't any main characters. There's not really a plot. The film is a compilation of poetry, philosophy, and soliloquies, all centered about what exactly is human Being.

_____What is our existence? What is war? Why do we fight wars? You can't answer these questions. And A THIN RED LINE doesn't even attempt to answer questions. But this is what we find ourselves thinking about as we watch it.

_____We think about what it's like to be fighting on Guadalcanal. What's it's like to have to charge up a hill of tall grass while your enemy machineguns your comrades down. You can't see the the enemy. You just see brief flashes of fire from the distance, and your buddy falls down dead. You hear your Commanding Officer barking at you to charge, knowing that it's suicide, yet you go because you must obey. War is hell. As you crawl through the brush, bullets whizzing past you, your mind wanders. You think about your girlfriend/wife at home. You think about your mother. Boom you're hit by a bullet and you're dead.

_____What captured me most about A THIN RED LINE was its beautiful cinematography. The jungle on the island literally comes alive. It teems w/ wildlife, the canopy of leaves focuses the sunlight into beautiful rays, the babbling brook flows crystal clear over rocks while the native children play. Malick focuses on the nature and scenery, to remind us that we are all part of Mother Earth. We are all part of nature. Why do we kill ourselves? The artistry of A THIN RED LINE was absolutely stunning. I felt I was on the damn island, I felt the dirt on my skin. I saw the crocodiles and toucans around me. I saw the wild dogs eating the dead corpses. I was there. And it was all thanks to Terrence Malick.

_____One flaw in this otherwise excellent thinking man's movie is the enormous number of celebrity cameos. The movie stops dead cold when John Travolta and George Clooney come on. They just don't bring the same authenticity of being real soldiers as the rest of the cast do. Adrien Brody, who plays the humanitarian Witt perfectly portrays a soldier who hates war but still risks his ass to protect his friends. Elias Koteas also has an excellent performance as the Captain of the Charlie Company who is unwilling to let his men die, risking the wrath of Colonel Tall, played cruelly menacing by Nick Nolte.

_____Koteas, Brody, and Nolte give brilliant performances, but one standout is Sean Penn. He plays a Sergeant who is trying not to care about the loss of life, who is trying to numb himself, but simply cannot abandon the human side of his soul.

_____Some people will hate A THIN RED LINE with every fiber of their being. Some people will love it. For me, I'm closer to the middle. While I found some parts of A THIN RED LINE very entertaining, such as the battle scene and art direction, it also dragged a little too long. It was close to 3 hours, and all the voice over narratives about life philosophy was a tad exhausting.

_____But to tolerate and withstand war is to remain aloof and distant, in order to not get caught in all its madness. Remember this when you watch A THIN RED LINE, or you will find yourself fatigued from its slow pace.


Babe-o-meter: 1- I am limp (Virtually no women in this movie, except for naked aborigine women, which was disgusting)

NOTE: This is the brand new institution of the Babe-o-meter, which replaces the old Chick-o-meter. The latter rated the movie on its accessibility to the female gender. We all know it is freakin impossible to understand girls these days, so now we have the Babe-o-meter, which measures the girls actually in the movie. Keep in mind this is a brain-child of Rice, so credit must go to him. =) The scale is as follows:

* 4-- Greek Goddesses (Highest)- Some nice, delicious honeys, changed from "Wet Dream Time" at Rice's request; i.e. Jenny McCarthy
* 3-- Lovely- Pretty girls, but not knockouts; i.e. Jennifer Lopez
* 2-- Semi Do-able- Middle of the road type of girls; i.e. Jennie Garth
* 1-- I am limp (Lowest)- Butt ugly banshees; i.e. my sis Jennifer Wang =)