7. The Thin Red Line, 1998
Dir: Terrence Malick
Cast: Sean Penn, James Caveizel
It takes a different kind of moviewatcher to enjoy a Terrence Malick film. That's not to say only a specific amount of people can enjoy them, in fact, everyone can. It's just that they are a different breed of films. This isn't a war film, it's a Malick war film... and that, in itself, makes it stand out from any other war film ever released. Malick had only made two other films before Thin Red Line, but they already gave a clue as to what to expect with his third movie. You have your voice-overs and your beautiful, naturalistic cinematography. You also have a slow moving movie. You feel every minute of a Malick film. He throws all these images and words at you that at the end you're completely lulled in... that's if you're really watching.
Thin Red Line is not about war, it's not about the action we see on screen, this is about the soldiers. It's about their innermost thoughts, their feelings, their perspective on life. These people all know that life can go at any second and after living with that frame of mind for as long as they've been in the military, they've learned to dissociate themselves from the action.
This is true cinematic poetry. The movie just kind of floats along by through the action and the soldiers, almost as if this is all a dream. Don't get me wrong though... there plenty of wonderful war/action sequences and the most interesting thing is not how it affects the characters, but how it affects their surroundings. Malick focuses a lot on the beautiful scenery of the island and contrasts that with the destructiveness of war. This is a beautifully made, breath-taking movie by one of the most legendary filmmakers of all-time.