|The Thin Red Line: Art for Thought|
After spending three hours in a movie theater watching The Thin Red Line, either the little metal wheel in my head rusted or that hamster that runs my brain needs to take another coffee break. Because, maaaaan, did I do a lot of thinking.
I think that The Thin Red Line was the hardest movie I ever had to see. Not in terms of emotions or deep, involving thoughts, but in the same terms as those tests I used to take in 11th grade history class. You know, you probably had them, too -- the ones where the first question is: "Fifty men signed the Declaration of Independence. State their middle names, favorite colors, any foods they might have been allergic to, and the exact length of their forearms from wrist to elbow."
Ouch... there it goes again. I think Scruffy the Wonder Hamster is flicking lit cigarettes at the inside of my head.
You either love The Thin Red Line with every fiber of your being, or you want an hour alone in a room with the guys who made this movie, a dozen blowtorches, some samurai warriors, and duct tape. Don't look at me, though... I loved it. I just wish that I could remember my name.
The Thin Red Line is the total opposite of Saving Private Ryan, even though both were the best war movies I've ever seen. Ryan is what you get when you take the best actor and the best director in Hollywood and toss them into a movie with the best effects around. Talk about Oscar bait... Ryan is practically a six-foot-tall earthworm with "Eat Me" written on it.
The Thin Red Line is an art project. It takes 45 minutes to get to the war stuff, and until then, you get everybody from Woody Harrelson to Nick Nolte to the cute guy from The Truth About Cats and Dogs thinking about everything but war. Their wives back home, their jobs, the last, best place they were, how they're going to get Scruffy to start running in that little wheel again... wait, that last one was me.
Half the fun of this movie is the pretty pictures that they pop onto the screen during the war stuff. Since this is someone's art project, you see things like pictures of a baby bird being born while in the background, you hear bombs exploding and shots firing. It's weird and cool all at once.
The other half of the fun is keeping an eye out for cameos. Do you have any idea how much easier this movie is going to make the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? "Hey, look, there's John Cusack!" "Hey, isn't that Jordan from My So-Called Life?" "Hey, I can see my house from here!"
Um... wait a sec…
Scruffy, put down the beer and get back to work!
Our Readers Respond
I loved the The Thin Red Line (TTRL). It is the best movie I have ever seen. It takes the two things in the world I can hold together in my hands as my own, and pushes them together into a mushy weld of a great movie. I am a poet, I love to study World War II. I don't think that many people liked it, though. It is compared to Saving Private Ryan (SVR).
It cannot be compared to Saving Private Ryan. It is nothing like it, not the opposite, but nothing like it. It is based in the South Pacific, while SVR is based around D-Day. TTRL divides the company by the thoughts of the men, SVR shows the difference in lives, not mentally, as does TTRL. When, in the midst of battle, a flashback occurs, the entire movie shifts to a new position, SVR does not shift AT ALL!!!!!
As you probably guessed, I didn't like Saving Private Ryan, at least as much as I did The Thin Red Line.