Inspirations For Contract: The Thin Red Line

Inspirations For Contract

The Thin Red Line

Notable Features: Candles



The Thin Red Line (1998) is an epic war film, directed by Terrence Malik. It is a well- known adaption of James Jones’ 1962 novel of the same name. The narrative follows a group of soldiers, fighting to survive the outcome of the battle of Guadalcanal during World War 2. Malick has crafted a film of stunning visual poetry, of frightening realism and of the overwhelming beauty of nature. It is a film of major Existentialist proportions; the various, multiple and seemingly anonymous voiceovers drive the themes of life, death, beauty and truth forward and into another dimension.


Malick’s Cinematographer, John Toll has, in my eyes, created shots that are nothing short of stunning. They portray the melodious thought that nature’s beauty is always present, even during the unspeakable act of war. The film has a lyrical and rhythmic feel to it, which is partly due to the poetic composition of the individual shots.


Candles appear at various points throughout the film, conveying light and darkness, the dimensions of truth and the nature of reality. The candles have metaphorical meaning, however they also look brilliant on screen.



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