Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2010


"The Thin Red Line" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook



The Thin Red Line follows the men of C Company as they charge into the battle of Guadalcanal. In particular, the movie focuses on Witt (James Caviezel) a Private who has gone AWOL and is living with the locals and experiencing life as if for the first time. In the beginning of the movie a patrol boat spots him and his friend and locks them up in the brig.   Lieutenant Colonel Tall (Nolte) leads C Company into a fierce battle with the Japanese. Throughout the movie, the thoughts of the men of C Company are further explored through the use of narration and beautiful cinematography by John Toll.


  • Criterion
  • 1998, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 50 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG4
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Sean Penn, James Caviezel, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, John Travolta
  • Directed by Terrence Malick
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Graphic War
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad


I remember seeing The Thin Red Line in the theaters with a group of friends and immediately upon exiting the theater we began comparing it to another World War II movie that came out earlier that year - Saving Private Ryan.  Both are fantastic movies with great casts and directors, but they take completely different approaches to a film about war.  Private Ryan was all about the visceral impact and intensity of war and the bonds of trust built between the soldiers.  Spielberg's approach was one of realism and in-your-face action.  He wanted you to feel what those men were put through, whereas, I feel Malick stepped back a bit and wanted the viewer to scruitize what war really is and what good does it do.  How war affects nature and everyone around it. The action is also very intense and graphic like Private Ryan, but its shot with such delicacy and beauty compared to Spielberg's grainy, muted, and dirty style.

I've enjoyed The Thin Red Line every time I have watched it, but seeing it represented in such high quality here on this new Criterion Blu-Ray has made it even more enjoyable. It's a movie everyone should watch at least once, and if you are a fan, it is a must buy.


Reference Quality. Inky blacks, natural, lush colors, and loads of fine detail make this fresh new transfer impeccable and a top notch demo disc.  The quiet subtle sounds of nature balance perfectly with the explosiveness of war.


Commentary track with production designer Jack Fisk, producer Grant Hill, and cinematographer John Toll. Features about the actors, the amazing score my Hans Zimmer, editing, outtakes and several more. A great collection of extras for an important film.