It is from director Oliver Stone, a veteran of the conflict and so perhaps has some elements of personal memories. Awful one's.
Charlie Sheen plays a young soldier, Chris. A college boy from a middle class background who has actually volunteered for enlistment.
Compare his background to many of his comrades from the poorer end of the spectrum.
What Chris witnesses in the war zone is completely depressing. His comrades fight amongst themselves.
Innocent locals are murdered as the stress of jungle warfare eats away at the platoon.
Senior officers argue and fight each other with one using drugs to lessen the mental pain.
The film tries to showcase the misery of war.
I am positive that some of the negative actions of SOME of the soldiers is not a reflection on all.
A powerful indignation of war and the Vietnam conflict in particular.
The one factor that can't be diminished is how realistic 'Platoon' is, and with the film being personally undertaken through Oliver Stone's personal experience whilst fighting in Vietnam, it's clear as to why. Francois Truffaut once famously said that "there's no such thing as an anti-war film", suggesting that movies depicting war will inevitably glorify it nonetheless - had he lived long enough to see 'Platoon', he may have retracted that statement.
Not only does Stone focus on the horrors of war between the US army and the NVA, but also the personal vendettas within the US army itself, namely between Sergeant Barnes and Sergeant Elias, portrayed by Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe respectively in fantastic performances, Berenger in particular who gives a performance like no other. Who would've known you could hate an American sergeant so much... well Berenger sure helped us. The film doesn't glorify war, nor does it glorify the American army, it focuses on the human element, the hard-hitting reality, but also showcasing a divide in the American army between those fighting for a reason, then those who have little-to-no sympathy for those around them.
'Platoon' is powerfully intense, from the opening use of the 'Adagio for Strings', to Dafoe's defining moment, arms outstretched, right through to the intense finale, which unfortunately in my own opinion does feel a little anti-climactic.
Anyway despite the positive aspects of this powerfully-intense film, there are some areas that I personally think it lacks in, thus making it weaker than others in the Vietnam war genre. Now the CGI is something I'm going to skip over due to the time period, but I couldn't help but laugh at the over-the-top lighting effects and the concluding jet that seems to defy the laws of gravity, but I will let this slide. The main reason I haven't selected this film as a masterpiece, despite it being so well-made, is due to the emotional detachment from the story, and to be honest, the little sympathy I had for the film's characters, maybe I'm just heartless, but I feel that there are other war films out there that are more emotionally-poignant and hard-hitting, and as I previously mentioned, the ending felt very anti-climactic. The battle itself is intense and extremely well-executed, but when it comes to the personal one-on-one between Taylor and Barnes, it just falls short. These flaws aside, I can't praise Oliver Stone enough for the harrowing experience that is 'Platoon'.
Amazing acting throughout.