Friday, July 25, 2014

Platoon [USA, 1986]

Nine Things About the Movie Platoon

1. This is Oliver Stone's early classic, a scorching view of the Vietnam war. It was the first of Stone's Vietnam Trilogy (followed by Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven and Earth).

2. It is based on Stone's actual experiences as a soldier in Vietnam. This was the first Hollywood film to be written and directed by a Vietnam Veteran.

3. Stone made this movie as a counterpoint to the very pro-military John Wayne Vietnam movie, The Green Berets.

4. It stars a young Charlie Sheen as a rich white boy that drops out of college to volunteer to fight in Vietnam. Stone deliberately points out the class (and racial) disparities of the soldiers who fought in the war.

5.  Far from depicting the American fighting forces as united against the enemy, the movie shines a light on the various political maneuverings inside a single platoon - which is responsible for more than one incident of "friendly fire".

6. Besides the fantastic performance of Sheen, Tom Berenger's portrayal of a soldier who has been in country just a little too long is also memorable.

7. The point of the movie is to show Sheen's character arc. He slowly learns that the men that survive the longest are the ones that give up their humanity and act on bloodlust and animal instinct.

8.  The movie is also famous for it's soundtrack, which showcases one of the most epically sorrowful pieces of classical music ever, "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber.

9. Even now, almost 30 years after it was made, this movie remains one of the defining accounts of the Vietnam War. It's fascinating, tragic, and important.