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Platoon, Film Review

922 words - 4 pages

The Vietnam War was on everyone's mind in 1960s and 1970s in our country. It was the center of much of America's troubles during this time, but only the soldier's who fought in that war knew the true madness that was Vietnam. Oliver Stone began writing Platoon because the Vietnam War was "a pocket of our history nobody understands." (Schuer t24) Platoon is a movie which should be viewed by everyone, not only for its cinematic qualities but for its historic insight as well.Platoon is an Orion Pictures production, filmed in 1986. Written and directed by Oliver Stone it tells the gruesome story of a Vietnam War not known by the American public. Tom Beringer, who plays the experienced Sergeant Barnes, was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category along with Willem Defoe who plays Sergeant Elias. Charlie Sheen plays Chris Taylor, an idealistic student who had dropped out of college, joined the army, and volunteered for Vietnam. His idealism and view of war in general rapidly change during the course of the film. The character is based off the director Oliver Stone, who dropped out of Yale to join the war effort. Chris and the rest of the soldiers are unaware of what they are getting into and are given little time to prepare. "Trapped in the cage of front-line life, living (if they're luck) from moment to moment, values that apply elsewhere fade out for Barnes and others" (Kauffman 24). While serving his time Taylor experience the war in its full spectrum, from the homesickness and the comradery of the men to the nightmares of battle.The enemy is the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong but you rarely view them except as shadowy figures in the jungle or momentarily illuminated by the light of a flare. There are no defined battle lines and the combat scenes lead you to believe that the enemy is everywhere. The line between good and evil is blurred or nonexistent in this film. Sergeant Elias is portrayed as a caring, intelligent leader who escapes reality through the use of drugs. His nemesis, Sergeant Barnes, is portrayed as an efficient fighting machine who will stop at nothing to get the job done. You soon realize that he, too, is just doing everything to ensure his own survival.Platoon shows how the War affected the soldiers, and how none of them felt that they were fighting for a reason. The film shows the Vietnam experience from the average soldier's point of view. In the beginning Chris Taylor is very ignorant and his chances of survival are slim. The movie went beyond just showing battles, with the showing of the moral dilemmas that the soldiers faced. The film...

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