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The Thin Red Line (1998) artwork

The Thin Red Line (1998)

1st January 2000

A group of young World War II soldiers are brought in to battle for key positions in the American advance on Guadalcanal. As they witness the horrors of war the group form a close bonding as they fight for their survival.
Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, James Caviezel, Ben Chaplin, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas, Jared Leto, Dash Mihok, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, John C. Reilly, Larry Romano, John Savage, George Clooney
War/Western
2
2 Hours 44 Minutes

Overlooked by the American cinema going public, The Thin Red Line follows a group of young soldiers as they form part of a battalion engaged in the battle for Guadalcanal which would ultimately turn the war in Americas favour. Under orders to capture a Japanese airfield they land on the island with no resistance from the enemy. Only when the group head up into the hills do they meet fierce resistance from the Japanese soldiers and they finally witness the horrors of war at first hand.

As their friends are cut down by enemy fire, and under immense pressure from the Colonel to take the hill, do the soldiers emotions take over as they battle for their survival. As the film progresses the horrors of war are unraveled and the viewer witnesses the shell-shocked soldiers dealing with the death and destruction on both sides of the line.

It produces many powerful performances from the endless list of top actors, especially Nolte, and you can really appreciate the number of academy nominations it received. There is even a moment to raise a smile, although it is no laughing matter, as Woody Harrelson's character has a tragic mishap with a hand grenade shrieking "I blew my butt off!" before departing this world.

The picture is outstanding, and a credit to Fox. Although the bit rate varies considerably, it is not to the detriment of the picture quality. The picture is soft, yet colourful enough the portray the dark jungle images and the heat of battle out on the hillside. The sound of battle is good, with plenty of bullets and explosions around the soundstage, but it cannot compare with the amazing opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. However, during a battle to destroy a bunker the surrounds are given a good work out with plenty of ricocheting bullets and explosions, although there seems to be a bizarre lack of LFE's throughout the many intense battles.

This film is no Saving Private Ryan. If you were expecting the explosive battles with the gore of war then you'll be deeply disappointed. This film deals not only with a war, but with each soldiers inner self with remarkable images and poignant voiceovers. Although the extras aren't up to much, it is still remarkable film which is just the ticket for your DVD collection.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Melanesian Songs
  • Collectable Postcards
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