The Cusack Chronicles: The Thin Red Line (1998)
Beautiful film. Cinematography is glorious. Acting is spot-on for every actor. Terrence Malick is a master of saying so much with imagery. He makes silence speak volumes. I remember the first time I watched this film, I was younger but I remember the scenery and I remember thinking how much emotion ran through the film. Watching it again, I was struck by the same observation, but was, also, struck by how philosophy could be made beautiful. This film asks such deep questions through spoken word, but, more often than not, through images. I was shocked that Jim Caviezel did not receive an Oscar nod for his role, because, really, this movie revolved around him, he was the beginning and the end. The bookends of this gorgeous film. As good as Cusack did in his rather small, but important, role, Caviezel (aka Jesus) set the tone and pushed the philosophical underpinnings of the film. Elias Koteas and Ben Chaplin were also key actors in this film. All three of these guys were the heart of the movie.
This film is far superior to Saving Private Ryan which was also released in 1998. The story is better, the meaning of the film is more immediate, and the direction was tighter and more intentional. Every shot of this film meant something to the rest of the film. There was no fluff shots, no b-footage. Terrence Malick had a purpose in this film and it took him two hours and fifty minutes to accomplish that purpose. Not a minute of which was wasted on the audience. To take even a minute from this film would cause it to suffer. It may in fact be the perfect war film; with only Bridge Over The River Kwai and “Band Of Brothers” to compete. This is a must-see for anyone who truly loves film.