Watched the blu-ray of the Thin Red Line last night. It has some revealing extras. The deleted scenes feature the notorious Mickey Rourke cameo, although one imagines that there was a lot more cut than just this. Millions of feet of film. Adrien Bordy was particularly upset to see his performance (he assumed he was the star of the film) end up on the cutting room floor, a fact he didn't realise until he saw the film at the premiere. But the film is a choral effect. Everyone adding their voices, but few receiving a solo. The whole film contends, the voice overs are mainly made up of questions and although characters often seem to represent certain points of view, they often contradict themselves. Witt might be a Christian soldier, but the emphasis despite his soulful staring is on soldiering. Welsh (Sean Penn), on the other hand, keeps telling everyone to look after number one, but admits that he doesn't feel numb, and is obviously someone who suffers throughout the film, most obviously at Witt's grave.
One fact I noticed is that a lot of the voice over I had previously thought of as being pronounced by Witt, is actually being given by Train, a young boy who appears at the beginning and end of the film, but simply as a face in the crowd. He is the one who, on the boat, talks to Welsh about his father beating him.
John Bleasdale is a writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, Il Manifesto, as well as CineVue.Com and theStudioExec.com. He has also written a number of plays, screenplays and novels.