The Thin Red Line
Malick's return to filmmaking took him to the South Pacific, recreating the harrowing Battle for Guadalcanal of the Second World War. Based on the 1962 novel by James Jones (who's other famous WWII novels Some Came Running and From Here to Eternity became big screen classics in the 1950s), The Thin Red Line covers the first and most devastating battle of America's advance across the Pacific. Breathtaking scenes of combat are interspersed with moments of disconcerting stasis and rapturous contemplation. An ensemble work featuring a stellar cast who portray a series of archetypal soldiers. The film illuminates the experiences of ordinary men forced into extraordinary circumstances, among them a deserter (Caviezel) enamored with living amid the Melanesian natives. A profoundly philosophical and often hallucinatory work, The Thin Red Line meditates on the savagery of war, the ineffable beauty of its tropical setting, and the intricate psychology of man. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. "The Thin Red Line works very differently from most films. As you watch it you wonder: What is narrative in movies? Is it everything, and if so, is there only one way to handle it? If Malick had just done a straightforward narrative, could he ever have achieved the kind of poetry he does here, or made a film where you really come to see the world as a primeval place? I don't think so."—Martin Scorsese.
In person: Jim Caviezel