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The Thin Red Line (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Thin Red Line
The Criterion Collection
Actors: James Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo, Penelope Allen
Director: Terrence Malick
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
R     2010     2hr 50min

After directing two of the most extraordinary movies of the 1970s, Badlands and Days of Heaven, American artist Terrence Malick disappeared from the film world for twenty years, only to resurface in 1998 with this visiona...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo, Penelope Allen
Director: Terrence Malick
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: George Clooney, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: Blu-ray - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/28/2010
Original Release Date: 01/01/1998
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1998
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 2hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 21
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Criterion hits it out of the park with this Blu-Ray
Jonathan Rimorin | Cormorant Island | 09/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I already loved the film, so waited so patiently for Criterion to come out, as it simply HAD to come out, with a definitive edition. I read and posted on the various fora, sent the emails, re-tweeted the enigmatic and happy Twitpic that Criterion posted, jumped all over the Criterion newsletter when they came out with their gnomic icon confirmation. I got the Blu-Ray the day it dropped, and have spent the subsequent couple days in a kind of reverie. I just watched the film -- which is, full stop for effect, absolutely STUNNING in Blu-Ray. Every technical aspect, from the color to the surround-sound (I so love the use of Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question" in the middle of a battlefield atrocity), is reference-quality AWESOME. I've yet to experience the commentary, but I've watched the insightful feature on James Jones and the novel from his daughter and listened to the chants; there's still the 15 deleted scenes and the wartime newsreels on Guadalcanal to go through, plus some other extras I'm sure. The essay is wonderful. If you think you experienced a religious ecstasy the first time you saw The Thin Red Line, just experience it again on this Criterion Blu-Ray and undergo true cinematic rapture.

** UPDATE ** I've watched all of the extra features, which are uniformly insightful and superb.

Commentary: This is by cinematographer John Toll, production designer Jack Fisk, and producer Grant Hill. Criterion commentaries are usually of three breeds, I find: hit-or-miss commentaries by film scholars (Peter Cowie's Bergman commentaries would be hits, the dull "you see the door in that shot? that door represents an opening" commentary on Solaris would be a miss), idiosyncratic commentaries by directors (Edward Yang, Jim Jarmusch), and then incredibly detailed production commentaries by people who worked on the production (The Last Metro, both Malicks). I like the director commentaries the most, since they usually combine both interpretation and production stories. The Thin Red Line commentary is completely about the production of the film, suffused with an almost worshipful regard for Terrence Malick. I found it a little dry. I would've liked discussion about, say, the poetry of the film -- the beautiful scene of Witt's mother dying, for example, which is like a Renaissance painting. Instead you hear that that scene was one of the last ones filmed.

Actors: An almost 30 minute featurette, featuring interviews with Sean Penn, Kirk Acevedo, Thomas Jane, Elias Koteas, Dash Mihok and Jim Cavaziel. I didn't find this particularly interesting; the actors uniformly fawn over Malick's genius and basically congratulate themselves for participating in the film.

Casting: A twenty minute featurette with the casting director, Diane Crittenden, featuring many audition tapes. Pretty interesting to see now well-known actors audition in the beginning of their careers (Nick Stahl, especially). Thomas Jane was quite the rockabilly.

Music: Hans Zimmer talks about his ambitious (he calls it "pretentious") ideas for the soundtrack of the film, particularly the idea that the music "should keep asking questions." I didn't realize that Zimmer had done the thoughtful music for Thin Red Line: it's so different from the sonic bombasts he's been doing lately.

Editing: Malick's team of editors, Billy Weber, Leslie Jones and Saar Klein discuss their work on their film. I found this feature to be the most interesting of the lot, particularly their discussion of how Malick pared the original 5-hour cut of the film (which, according to them, was plot-heavy, expository and filled with dialogue) into its current form, which is essentially a silent film layered with voiceover. Apparently Malick watched the assemblies with the soundtrack out, listening instead to Green Day. Who knew Terrence Malick liked Green Day?

Deleted Scenes: These fourteen minutes of deleted scenes show what a different movie The Thin Red Line could have been: they're basically straightforward dialogue and action scenes, with little or no voiceover or music. One of the events that actually happened to James Jones that he put into the novel -- he was surprised by an enemy soldier while taking a crap, and managed to kill him -- turns out to have been filmed after all. Another scene shows George Clooney displaying some fine actorly chops.

Kaylie Jones: James Jones' daughter talks about her father and the writing of The Thin Red Line in an illuminating featurette.

Newsreels: Ten 2-minute newsreels from 1942 talk about the American involvement in the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal in an incredibly gung-ho, Celebrate Our Boys fashion. It's an amazing counterpoint to the film.

Melanesian chants: Audio-only feature on the native chants used in the film.

Trailer: Watch this after you've seen the film, since like most trailers it completely gives everything away."
Malick's war
Clinic Pharmacy Larry Auxier | ky,usa | 09/29/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"1)Malick is a great director.I've seen all of his movies.My favorite Malick film is New world followed by The Thin Red Line, Days of Heaven and last but not least Badlands.
2)The Criterion Thin Red Line was worth the wait.The Blue Ray version is awesome.
3)Do not expect a Private Ryan or Halls of Montezuma,this is a Malick flick,which means your gonna have to think a bit and get philosophical,because you are going to be bombarded by exquisite cinematic imagery,and characterizations that relay a unrealized, not so specific,gray area,point of view on war,men in war,and nature in war.Malick is not going to spell everything out for you,that's the whole deal with Malick,there's a strangness about his films that is captivating,and sublime.
4)I could have done without the cameos butthe acting is great.
5)I wish the Criterion edition would have added sme of the footage missing from Malick's original 6 hr version.My nephew saw the 6hr version,and said it was much better than the 170 minute chopped up theatrical version.I know many say the 170 minute version of TTRL is too long,but I,(as in all of Malicks films)see each frame visually poetic,and stylistic,they come together and the movie plays out with artistic abandon,purposely surreal,TTRL leaves you asking questions rather pushing you toward a specific sonclusion.
6)I have read some pretty negative reviews on TTRL,by amazon movie watchers,and when I first saw TTRL I was not that impressed with Malick's ww2 vision,but the more I watched it the better it got,today I really like this film.The Criterion version makes it even better.Malick is not presumptuous enough to question why there is war,or why men can kill other men rather he gives us an island somewhere in an emerald sea,with a native people,life bearing nature,2 armies of armed and commanded soldiers,all making war and death on each other,and all we can do is watch.
7)I wish Criterion would do ONE EYED JACKS--there is not a decent version (DVD)of Brando's great western anywhere to be had..."
Didn't disappoint
M. Taing | 10/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Terrence Malick isn't for everyone. You either love his work or it puts you to sleep. Personally, I love every second of most of his movies (Not a big fan of New World), and this is my favorite of his as well as my all time favorite movie. That being said, I waited years for a HD disc of The Thin Red Line, with my fingers crossed that Criterion would pick it up. When it finally arrived (a day early, thanks amazon pre-order!!), it didn't disappoint. The image and sound quality are reference quality, the extras on the disc provide a rich insight into how Malick works as a director and how the film came together. If you're a Malick fan this is a MUST OWN."