Critical essays on platoon
Since their own lives also may be at stake in their arguments, there is a great sense of danger when they disagree. We see Americans shooting other Americans, and we can understand why.
After seeing "Platoon," I fell to wondering why Stone was able to make such an effective movie without falling into the trap Truffaut spoke about - how he made the movie riveting without making it exhilarating. Here's how I think he did it. He abandoned the choreography that is standard in almost all war movies. He abandoned any attempt to make it clear where the various forces were in relation to each other, so that we never know where "our" side stands and where "they" are. Instead of battle scenes in which lines are clearly drawn, his combat scenes involve degrees: Any shot might be aimed at friend or enemy, and in the desperate rush of combat, many of his soldiers never have a clear idea of exactly who they are shooting at, or why.
Identifying with the soldiers, we feel that if we duck behind this tree or jump into this ditch, we will be safe from the fire that is coming from over there. In "Platoon," there is the constant fear that any movement offers a chance between a safe place or an exposed one. Stone sets up his shots to deny us the feeling that combat makes sense.
The Vietnam War is the central moral and political issue of the last quarter-century, for Americans. A film that says - as the Vietnam Memorial in Washington says - that before you can make any vast, sweeping statements about Vietnam, you have to begin by understanding the bottom line, which is that a lot of people went over there and got killed, dead, and that is what the war meant for them. This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland.
OSU Professor Says "Platoon' Not Accurate
He and a fr Reviews Platoon. Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?
Roger Ebert This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. Popular Reviews Joker. Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Gemini Man. At the center of the film is Chris Taylor, a new arrival who dropped out of college to enlist, a fact that strikes the rest of the platoon as profoundly comically irrational. Chris, beautifully played by Charlie Sheen, is about as close as ''Platoon'' ever gets to a literary mouthpiece - he writes letters home to his grandmother, which we hear on the soundtrack, and in which he always - politely -sends regards to his mother and father. Chris is idealized but without sentimentality.
Part of him remains unknown and private, at least until the final minutes of the film, when Mr. Stone unfortunately feels called upon to have Chris say what has been far more effectively left unsaid. The platoon's most important figures are two NCO's, each an exhausted, self-aware veteran of earlier Vietnam tours: the facially scarred Sergeant Barnes Tom Berenger , who has somehow become committed to the war, which is all he has left, and Sergeant Elias Willem Dafoe , whom the war has made as eerily gentle as Barnes is brutal.
The two men, longtime friends, loathe each other. Throughout the action of the film, the sergeants are fighting their own war for the loyalty of the men. It's a measure of how well both roles are written and played that one comes to understand even the astonishing cruelty of Barnes and the almost saintly goodness of Elias. Each has gone over the edge.
Platoon () - Critic Reviews - IMDb
Another measure of the film is the successful way Mr. Stone has managed to create narrative order in a film that, at heart, is a dramatization of mental, physical and moral chaos.
Yet the tension builds and never lets up until the anti-climactic final moments. Somewhere in the second half of the film, there's a sequence of astonishing, harrowing impact that sort of ambles into a contemplation of how a My Lai massacre could have happened. It's not easy to sit through, not only because it's grisly but also because, all things considered, it's so inevitable. Stone's control over his own screenplay is such that ''Platoon'' seems to slide into and out of crucial scenes without ever losing its distant cool.
He doesn't telegraph emotions, nor does he stomp on them. The movie is a succession of found moments. It's less like a work that's been written than one that has been discovered, though, as we all probably know, screenplays aren't delivered by storks.
This one is a major piece of work, as full of passion as it is of redeeming, scary irony. The members of the supporting cast are no less fine than the principal players, and no less effective, often, for being almost anonymous.
Two particular standouts are Kevin Dillon, Matt's younger brother, who has the flashy role of a certifiable, homicidal maniac with a baby face, and Keith David, who plays Mr. Sheen's best friend, a black soldier who may be the only sane man in the platoon. Running time: minutes. This film is rated R. Sergeant Barnes Tom Berenger; Sergeant Elias Willem Dafoe; Chris Charlie Sheen; Big Harold