Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1998. Fox 2000 Pictures, Geisler-Roberdeau, Phoenix Pictures. Screenplay by Terrence Malick, based on the novel by James Jones. Cinematography by John Toll. Produced by Robert Michael Geisler, Grant Hill, John Roberdeau. Music by Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Jack Fisk. Costume Design by Margot Wilson. Film Editing by Leslie Jones, Saar Klein, Billy Weber.
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.
The Criterion Collection: #536
Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture; Best Director (Terrence Malick); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Sound; Best Original Score-Drama
Berlin Film Festival Award: Golden Bear