A beautifully written review, though it fails to recognize what I believe was Mallick's intent all along, which if it had, would have been a little less harsh. TRL is not a three star movie.
All directors except Mallick have to contend with--compromise if you will-- film's bi-dimensional limitations. Their thought process is one of "I'd like to convey or emote in such and such a way, but because it's film, I'll adapt my approach to the medium I have to work with." Nothing wrong with that, but it's a mindset that inhibits category transforming innovation.
Mallick, on the other hand, tries to surpass the medium by employing technique that appears out of context and therefore comes across to a reviewer as being awkward and unskilled. This also applies to Zimmer's score; Hans speaks of compositional goals of gloominess and brooding. He succeeded beautifully, yet it is only Mallick's placement and sequencing of the components that converted the score from sound to language. When the strategy is recognized, the review must change.
It's only when one recognizes what Mallick is attempting to do here that his message becomes all the more powerful. TRL is not a war movie. It is a requiem for many types of loss-of life,of innocence, of pristine nature, of hope, of human potential, of paradise on earth and of worthiness in God's eyes. That is exactly what happened at Guadal. End of story?