Posts Tagged ‘The Thin Red Line’

Minute Movie Review – Zodiac

Samstag, Mai 23rd, 2009


The case of the serial killer in California that called himself Zodiac is still notorious today because he kept a public profile with letters announcing his killings and because the case was never solved. The film is a detailed retelling of the events and of the men investigating them. In the last third, when it turns to the frantic investigation of cartoonist Robert Graysmith, upon whose book the film is based, it turns into a genuinely gripping thriller, despite the fact that the outcome is more or less known. Sadly, the film has already run for almost two hours at that point. It’s not a bad film, but apart from the running time it’s a pedestrian thriller that are a dime a dozen.

Random Observations:

Zodiac at

The film is directed by David Fincher, who is generally considered a great filmmaker, but who I consider vastly overrated. Neither Se7en nor Fight Club are particularly great (though at least both are not bad) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is just a prime example of pandering to stupid viewers.

For some strange reason, this is the third film starring Elias Koteas I’ve seen in a week. He is also in Crash and The Thin Red Line. This doubles the total number of films I’ve seen him in.

And speaking of things that have nothing to do with the film itself: This is the 300th post on this blog. I thought about writing a special celebratory post, but I’ll save that for the 500th.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009


Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.