Filmtracks: The Thin Red Line (Hans Zimmer)

'The Thin Red Line': Beauty and Destruction in Pacific Battle

Sound and image conspire to upend our sense of time and story in The New World, as they did in Days of Heaven, but here it is more complicated, less linear, more textured. Violations of the 180-degree rule, abrasive jump cuts, and unmotivated insert shots pervade the film at a level that takes the small discontinuities of Days of Heaven to an extreme. Just after Smith leaves Pocahontas, and before she is told (falsely) that he has died, Malick cuts from Kilcher to a Native American woman dancing in a field across a series of jump cuts, and then back to Pocahontas in Jamestown. The images function almost as nondiegetic inserts (Who is this person? Where is she? What is her relationship to the narrative at hand?), and the effect at times resembles that of Soviet montage cinema more than classical Hollywood narrative. In an earlier scene, in which Smith is about to be executed by the Powhatan tribe and Pocahontas intervenes, the cuts come at a breathless pace (the average take length here is 2.7 seconds); jump cuts obscure the action to the point that it is impossible to follow; and Smith’s reprieve is intercut with a billowing sail falling from a boat, another of those perplexing insert shots. A similarly climactic scene in Days of Heaven, in which the farmer confronts Abby, pulls a gun on her, and ties her up, has one barely noticeable jump cut and clips along at a comparatively sluggish 4.4 second average take length.

Posts about Spatial Continuity written by A.R. Duckworth


A term used to point to the continuity editing practice ensuring the logic of the look or In other words, eyeline matching is based on the belief in mainstream cinema that when a character looks into off-screen space the spectator expects to see what he or she is looking at.

And how the hell did you manage to have the Thin Red Line as your second editing ..

this is a good thing because the luthiers that built these built them by hand for the most part and Eye-balled the approximation of that hold and some line up differently than others of the same model by other luthiers so if replacing yours you likely already have the hole and it would be nice if it fit yours exactly.

and reorder vast quantities of footage without strict regard for continuity editing.


New Movie Reviews & Film Reviews | Hollywood Reporter

Let’s continue, then, with a hypothesis: What if we said that the difference lies in the editing? On the one hand, this is a somewhat obvious suggestion, not simply because of running time: the more recent films have flashbacks (the earlier films don’t) and jump cuts (again, mostly absent in the earlier films). On the other hand, such observations only go so far in explaining the shift that occurred between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, and capturing the extent to which editing is not simply one aspect of the marked change in Malick’s aesthetic but maybe its central feature. To make such a bold claim, though, requires contextualizing his movies as products of specific time periods and certain methods of production, particularly with regard to the technology of film editing and its impact on the craft.

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Still, where Malick and Billy Weber worked over many months to shape Days of Heaven in postproduction, their process hardly resembles the one that resulted in the currently definitive cut of The New World. That film was edited by four different people, initially in different physical locations, each using their own Avid systems. Malick reviewed all of their work, and in postproduction the various pieces were reassembled and made into a two-and-a-half hour version that was screened to critics and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, then released into theaters. This version of the film was then abruptly pulled from theaters, as Malick and his editors continued cutting, and the film was rereleased in its current two-hour-and-fifteen-minute form a few weeks later. It’s less like a Hollywood production than a Google doc—Collaborate! Share! Publish! Publish again!—unquestionably the product of the digital era.

Faith in the Time-Image: Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and …

Nobody doubtsthe quality of the first two hours of The Thin Red Line, butafter the battle for the hill central to the film's plot is finished,Malick's plotline loses all cohesion.

Hollywood continuity editing ..

In The New World, Malick elaborates on the impulses already present in Days of Heaven. An hour into the film, John Smith, close to tears, barters with a group of Native Americans. Malick interrupts the scene with a strange insert shot of Pocahontas, and then a few seconds later, another one, this time of Pocahontas and Smith together, as the dialogue from the original scene continues to play as an extended sound bridge. He then cuts back to Smith bartering, and finally back to Smith and Pocahontas for the duration of the sequence. If from the cross-cutting and sound design it first seemed that Smith was remembering or fantasizing about Pocahontas, it becomes evident by the end of the sequence that Malick is actually cutting between two separate events, allowing them to flow into one another without establishing how they relate to one another in the chronology of the narrative. At the end of this sequence, Smith asks Pocahontas in close-up if she would like him to live with her again. As they are about to kiss, Malick cuts to a medium shot of her approaching him, and the moment is gone—the kiss is over before it’s really begun. Towards the end of the film, Pocahontas asks Smith if he ever found his Indies. He replies, “I may have sailed past them.” This sentiment comes close to expressing the elusive sense of time and event in both films, one that defines Malick’s cinema—his characters push forward as their dreams of happiness slip into the past; the present is the meeting place between aspiration and loss, the moment of almost-happiness, a collision of dream and memory. Continuity editing could hardly suit such a purpose.