Rarely viewed as an 'actor's director,' Malick has nevertheless brought out some great work
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10. Elias Koteas, “The Thin Red Line” (1998)
It ended up being a toss-up between three graduates of Malick’s third film, “The Thin Red Line,” for the bottom slot on the list. But while Dash Mihok gave a unique but natural portrayal, and while Jim Caviezel proved a zen narrative and emotional anchor, I settled on Elias Koteas’s Capt. James “Bugger” Staros. And a fitting pick it might be, seeing as his work encapsulates so perfectly a current that runs through many Malick characters, namely a profound sense of inner conflict. Koteas carved out a supporting character of great honor but undeniable frailty (as in, humanity), a man who’ll bite his lip until it bleeds.