(out of 5)
Poetic, haunting war movie by Terrence Malick (returning to the screen after twenty years) makes a perfect companion piece to Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan: whatever you don’t like about one you’ll love in the other and vice versa. Jim Caviezel ably leads a huge cast as a meditative, melancholy soldier who, while stationed in the south Pacific, experiences both the emotional and physical horrors of war. Cast members Ben Chaplin, Sean Penn, John Savage, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas among others all have their opportunities to let their characters ruminate on their feelings and experiences in battle before their eventual fates. Some will find the film too drawn out, but its stunning photography and excellent acting should make it worth anyone’s while. Although Ryan is very tense, this one is terrifying, with an atmosphere that makes one feel as extremely unsafe as a soldier would on the battlefield.
Directed by Terrence Malick
Screenplay by Terrence Malick, based on the novel by James Jones
Cinematography by John Toll
Music by Hans Zimmer
Production Design by Jack Fisk
Costume Design by Margot Wilson