Saturday, October 2, 2010
Platoon is one of Oliver Stone's most personal films because its story of soldiers in Vietnam is based off his own experience in that war. His own nightmare is conveyed through the eyes of a young solider, played by Charlie Sheen. The soldier's name is Chris, and he sees Vietnam as hell, a place without reason. And from what I hear, the experience in Vietnam's jungles was a terrible one, not just because of the violence and the brutal conditions, but because of the Americans and their rebellious nature. The soldiers, as Sheen tells us, are the poor guys from the states who usually get in two years of high school and are lucky to have a lousy job waiting for them once they get home. We know from movies what destitute life is like in America. The gangs, the drugs, and the unscrupulous nature of those involved with such a life. Now imagine this life transported to Vietnam, where the conditions are twice as bad and there's no law to prohibit you from killing someone. and Chris is a rich guy, so you can imagine how it would be an extra rotten deal for him. I'm sure that when it came out, Platoon was an amazing and shocking war picture because of its violence, Stone's unique presentation, and the stellar technical achievements. While it still looks fine, it didn't strike me as being a whole lot better than modern war movies (or any of them released in the last fifteen years). But I think what really keeps the movie from being great is that Chris' story and personal experience wasn't developed enough after the first half hour. And the movie really lost my interest in the final forty minutes, when the increase of action overshadows some fascination vendetta's among the soldiers. But this was still impressive, and among the Oliver Stone movies I've seen, one of the best.