When Terrence Malick returned from the wilderness and started directing again, The Thin Red Line was his first project. Based on the novel of the same name by James Jones, it depicts the American soldiers in Guadalcanal as they struggle to rout the Japanese from their dug in positions on the tropical island. A notable aspect of The Thin Red Line is Malick's refusal to focus too much on any given character, preferring instead to meander around the soldiers of C Company and explore their various perspectives. While this approach might have led to an obviously disjointed narrative in some hands, Malick is less concerned with a coherent or conventional plot and more with exploring broader ideas of the dehumanising nature of warfare and the juxtaposition with man's inherent violence as a force of nature. Malick's consistent near-metaphysical approach to his subject matter has long divided audiences, and those expecting a war film Hollywood-style are far better served by movies like Saving Private Ryan. The Thin Red Line is also notable for Malick's notorious habit of cutting out performances entirely from the final cut - Billy Bob Thornton, Gary Oldman, Viggo Mortensen and Martin Sheen are among those who failed to make it onto cinema screens.