I only wish it had a protagonist who takes the story forward. Yes, we have an army of soldiers and there is a battalion. But a guiding force would have done so much more is what I firmly believe. As it is, the film is no less than a great war film.
There is a supreme ensemble cast which includes Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, George Clooney and a host of many other actors. They do a great job in empathizing with the characters and playing their roles perfectly. They become soldiers and behave like soldiers. Not for once, did I see a Sean Penn but I saw a passionate soldier fighting for his country. All the others have done a fine job I must say. Though there some hundreds of actors in the whole film, never did I was there was an extra or someone is out of place. That is what I think is utilizing resources appropriately.
The cinematography by John Toll is exemplary and indeed I can say this is one of the finest works I have seen in a war film. I learnt that this film even with such great camera work did not win an academy award for cinematography but it was awarded to "Saving Private Ryan", which also has fine camera work and great choreography of war scenes. I can understand the fix, the jury would have been in deciding which one was better.
I resisted myself from watching this, because I never thought I had the patience of sitting through a 3 hour full length war film, which is highly detailed and nuanced. Yet, after watching it today, I confess I have seen one of the finest war films of contemporary cinema and I salute the director Terrence Malick for showing the war as it is, unabashedly, uncompromisingly and more importantly, bringing the human emotions on to the surface without any drama.
The director Terrence Malick has done very few films in his career. He began in 1969 and yet this was just his fourth film as a director. He surely has a vision that is grand and it takes time to detail all of those. But, I hope he does more work and showcases his talent giving such exemplary cinema.
A 4/5 for this one and I ma happy to have finally watch it. To watch it again, I need a lot patience though.