"The first casualty of war is innocence."
Platoon, often cited as one of the best and most realistic war films ever made, is a stunning and sobering movie about Vietnam. Oliver Stone brings this film to the screen with an extreme amount of power. He explores the war on many levels. It isn't just us vs. them, but us vs. us. There's senseless killing, drug use, rape, and all of it is viewed from the point of view of the soldiers. The movie is, at times, hard to watch. It's graphic, it's gritty, it's real. It gives you a little taste of the hell that was Vietnam.
Taylor is a new arrival to the war. New arrivals basically get shit upon. You have to earn the respect of your fellow soldiers by putting your time in. Taylor wasn't drafted, but voluntarily went because his grandfather and father both fought in wars. He falls under the guidance of a good leader in Sgt. Elias. There's a lot of inner fighting between the platoon as some side with the vicious Sgt. Barnes, who has no qualms with killing civilians, and some side with Elias. The battle sequences are as intense as you'd expect and we see characters transformed through these battles into killing machines.
The movie looks amazing, but it also sounds equally amazing. There's also an amazing all-star cast bringing everything to life. Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker, and Johnny Depp are the biggest names, but the rest of the huge cast give great performances as well. Through the great performances, the audience deals with a ranging amount of emotions. The movie is at times terrifying, at times sad, at times infuriating, and even at times funny and heartfelt.
There's a reason this movie is regarded as the classic it is, and after watching it you'll understand. This is one of Stone's very best movies and one that will never lose a touch of its power. Fifty years from now, this movie will still be every bit as powerful. This is a must see for everyone. It doesn't matter if you don't like war films, or you don't like Charlie Sheen, or you don't like Oliver Stone. It should be required viewing.
A film that deserves praise but not Best Picture.
Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe fight it out to prove who's the craziest in Oliver Stone's ultimate Vietnam war movie. I'm not sure which one of them wins, but they sure create an interesting duel of personalities. When Chris (Charlie Sheen) first steps off the plane into the jungles of Vietnam, he's thrown in with the wolves, the old soldiers don't help out the new arrivals, figuring it's best to die in the first week and "not suffer". Chris outlasts many of fellow new recruits and even begins to thrive, under the terrifying tutelage of Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger). It's not until he sees the depth of deprivation of Barnes and his fellow soldiers that he turns to Sgt. Elias (Willem Dafoe) for an ally. Elias, like Barnes, knows no fear, and yet Sgt. Elias hasn't lost sight of his humanity. He helps out the new recruits when no one else will, he does alot for the soldier's morale. Barnes is the hero of psychopaths like Bunny (Kevin Dillon), who believe Vietnam is their own personal playground where they can "do whatever" they want as long as they don't get killed. When Barnes and Bunny and their morally questionable fellow soldiers commit vile and illegal acts, Elias and Barnes finally come to a stand-off, and it becomes a matter of soldier against fellow soldier in the middle of a jungle war. Oliver Stone creates a harrowing vision of Vietnam, thanks to the consultation of former soldiers and his own war experiences. Platoon is a composite of the entire Vietnam war, and perhaps war in general. It's always a question of maintaining one's humanity when your very survival is at stake. I think the main question Platoon raises is, why? What was the purpose of all this killing and death? Abstract idealogy? It's a question that stayed on my mind while watching this film, and I still don't know the answer.
Platoon is probably one of the finest acted war films ever. Director Oliver Stone had the actors go through their own basic training before shooting the film and it helped them develop what amounts to their exhaustion that all of them feel in this film. They drag you to hell with them as they travel further and further toward death. A finely acted film.
What sets Platoon above other Vietnam war films is how personal it is. Oliver Stone wrote this film as a semi-autobiographical rebuttal to John Wayne's The Green Berets back in the mid 1970's. Stone nursed this film for a decade and his personal association with it shows on screen. What Stone shows the audience is the ideals that numerous young men went to Southeast Asia with and how all of that was flushed down the toilet as these men never knew who the enemy really was. Platoon is a chronicle of how wars with no real purpose never accomplish anything but mindless lunacy.