Awesome. I think that the participation of two completely different, highly talented writers in the script might have harmed it, and that some of its power is diluted by everything being explained and stated three times or so, and I think Mitchum is perhaps miscast (I would have preferred Bill Holden, personally), but otherwise, it's great, I think. It's got its emotional beats, to be sure, but primarily it's a film that excels at kicking ass and taking names. I'm surprised at how well Pollack took to the material - it demonstrates considerable versatility from him, which is what I like to see. A really undervalued piece of work.
I don't know why I keep getting sucked into watching these portmanteau films. They're just not worth it. I liked the Schlöndorff segment, and maybe one or two of the others. Radford's seemed interesting, but it really isn't. Figgis' is intolerable. The Menzel and Godard ones, using stock footage, are unusual. I can't really remember the rest of them. Nor do I particularly want to. I'm sure I'll watch more of these, but for the life of me... I dunno why.
Finally got to see the theatrical version, which puts "Redux" to shame, honestly. It's pretty amazing on BD, although I'd love to see it on the big screen at some stage. Kilgore's attack in particular - that's like something a lesser filmmaker would put together with special effects. And it's all real. The photography need not really be mentioned, although I'd forgotten how... Gordon Willis-ey Storaro gets at times. I think the film's mostly kept at eye-level as well, for that matter. This is probably one of the few war epics that would qualify as art. And it's difficult to watch any other Vietnam flicks after it.
I'll focus on the positives: the Todd-AO cinematography is impressive for the most part. Shirley Jones possesses exceptional hotness. James Whitmore is a badass of some degree. Rod Steiger is fascinating and nuanced and stuff - as always. Eddie Albert's in it. But most importantly, above all: I'll never, ever have to sit through that load of manure ever again.
It's not total balls, which makes it Tony Goldywn's best film by default. It's still pretty crappy though - the story just plods along without ever taking time to explore anything of remote interest. For instance, the transformation from trailer-trash mother to lawyer might have been interesting, but Betty Anne just kinda goes ahead and does it. There's no real sense of passing time, outside of Sam Rockwell's makeup. There are also interesting characters, like the cop played by Melissa Leo - but the screenplay seems more interested in selling Minnie Driver as Swank's sassy and funny best friend. Honestly, it would be far more rewarding to just go and watch the Emma Thompson scenes from [i]In the Name of the Father[/i].