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Directed by Terrence Malick

United States 1998 170 mins. In English

Making his long-awaited return to filmmaking nearly 20 years after the unassailable masterpiece Days of Heaven (1979), Terrence Malick plumbed the trauma with the epic, sensitive, and stunningly beautiful The Thin Red Line. Populated by a sprawling cast of A-list actors (often relegated to tiny roles) and up-and-coming talents (Jim Caviezel and Adrien Brody impressing in particular), the film follows several gripping storylines all converging around South Pacific circa 1943. In stark contrast to the historically jingoistic trend in American war films, Malick’s vision of hell on earth takes on the tone of a spiritual and existential crisis—one in which nature stands by as men destroy each other for truly unclear reasons. “A masterpiece—a Malick masterpiece, telling a powerfully written, superbly acted story that casts new light on his characteristic themes of nature and culture, thought and language, humanity and inhumanity, paradise lost and transcendence found.”—David Sterritt, The Criterion Collection.