By: Sarah Elmquist Squires
Film critic Gene Siskel called it “the greatest contemporary war film” he’s ever seen, and the blockbuster is packed with accomplished actors, including Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, and John Travolta. And tonight, in the first of a series of films honoring veterans, community members will have the chance to come together and view it. “The Thin Red Line,” based on the 1962 novel by James Jones, tells a fictionalized story of the World War II Battle of Mount Austen in the Guadalcanal Campaign.
“The Thin Red Line” will be shown in the community room at the Riverton Branch Library, beginning at 7 p.m. today, November 9. On November 16, RBL will screen “The Giant Killer,” a 2017 documentary about the smallest man to serve in the U.S. Military, Vietnam veteran Green Beret Captain Richard J. Flaherty, will also show at 7 p.m. Flaherty, at 4’9″, earned a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts, Flaherty’s post-war life was shrouded in mystery. On November 30, at 7 p.m., RBL will show “The Hurt Locker,” a 2008 war thriller that follows an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team that was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
“It’s a new program; this is the first year we’ve done it,” explained RBL Adult Lead Librarian Tanner Miller. “With Veterans Day coming up we really wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate local veterans … We wanted to do a film series of movies that covered several different wars as a way to recognize what our veterans have done.” The result is a mix of documentaries and feature films that portray military experiences in a realistic light, and ones that have been praised by critics.
The films are now all part of the library’s collection, so those who aren’t able to attend the screenings can check them out once they become available.
The Dubois Branch Library will also offer several films, including “They Shall Not Grow Old” tonight, November 9, at 7 p.m., and “Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fouth Reich” on November 16 at 7 p.m.