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MatchFlick Member Reviews
Platoon
5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Oliver Stone

Written By:
Oliver Stone

Cast:
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Francesco Quinn, Forest Whitaker, John C. McGinley, Kevin Dillon, Richard Edson, Reggie Johnson, Keith David, Johnny Depp, Dale Dye, Mark Moses, Chris Pederson, David Neidorf, Tony Todd, Ivan Kane, Paul Sanchez, Oliver Stone, Corey Glover

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Platoon (1986)
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Movie Review by Melanie
January 29th, 2007

I wrote this review for my history class last semester. I love historical movies, and military is a plus. Although it follows the criteria of my class, I found it appropriate to post here. The assignment was to identify the accuracy of the movie and whether or not it was appropriate to be studied in class.

In the 1960's the United States was divided, and sadly, they did not completely understand why. The Vietnam War severed this country and it has never been the same since. Although there have been numerous books and movies on the subject, one undeniable fact are that, they are all very different and yet all ring true to veterans who experienced them first hand. Platoon is one of the most famous movies made about Vietnam for its accuracy and controversy. At first glance, Platoon is very busy and full of subplots, but simply it follows Chris Taylor, played by Charlie Sheen, through his tour in Vietnam. The many subplots further to illustrate the division between the soldiers with each other, the Vietnamese (north and south) and their government who placed them there.

The first thing to consider, when examining the validity of Platoon, is that it is in fact a dramatization of reality. When Hollywood gets its hands on a story, fact or fiction, it is inevitable that reality will be altered to make for a better story. On the 20th Anniversary DVD Edition, there is a documentary with over a dozen Vietnam veterans discussing the movie. Within the group there are those who said that they had never experienced anything like the movie, while others said that the movie was an exact depiction of their experiences.

The second important fact about this movie to consider is that Oliver Stone, the author and director, was himself a veteran and wrote about his experiences. His attention to detail, down to importing red dirt into the Philippines where they were shooting, completes the reality for the audience. It is also important that there were many military advisors in the production and involved with training the actors to assure accuracy.

Platoon succeeds in showing the public how truly complicated and confusing the Vietnam War was for the soldiers. The relationship between Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Grodin is symbolic of the conflict between the leaders of the country, not being able to agree on the path the nation should be taking. The divide between the soldiers who relax by using drugs and those who are either glad to be there or who have become callus to the war are directly symbolic of the divide in the public back home. Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is symbolic of the innocence that was lost as a direct result of the war. Taylor volunteered because he had principles and as his time in Vietnam went on, he slowly lost his principles and realized that he would be lucky to just survive. Much like Taylor, the United States entered Vietnam with ideals and principles they felt were worth fighting for, but as time went on, survival was all that was left.

Although at times Platoon can be a difficult movie to watch, it is a very real and sobering depiction of the reality of the Vietnam War. It is a very important movie for people to see, and very worthy of watching in our history class, because it brings the reality that mistakes can happen, and if our leaders are not brave enough to admit fault, Vietnam can and will happen again. We must realize that our fear of appearing weak to our enemies should come second to our concern for the lives of our troops and the people we are fighting.

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Zara
Jan 29, 2007 11:30 PM
 
I can't get with you on this one. If I have to watch a movie about the Vietnam war, my first choice so far remains to be THE DEER HUNTER.
Melanie
Jan 29, 2007 11:55 PM
 
I haven't seen it, but I will. That is the beauty of Vietnam, there are so many different stories and different experiences, We Were Soldiers, Good Morning Vietnam, Full Metal Jacket...to name a few.
You also have to keep in mind that I wrote this for a class, so to a degree I was having to write what the teacher was looking for. I included this because like I said, I am a huge history and military buff.



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