Oliver Stone directs Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe in this Oscar winning Vietnam war movie where a young G.I. must chose between two commanding officers with opposing philosophies towards the ‘Nam.
Apocalypse Now is the finest Vietnam movie, Full Metal Jacket has the most intellectual voice about dehumanisation, Casualties of War and Bullet to the Head find unique viewpoints but THE SHIT will always belong to Oliver Stone. He was actually in country. This is a pure film. The pure ‘Nam. An ensemble working and dying and showing their true colours together. Sweaty bold type acting, two dozen potential stars trying to hit their mark and steal focus, imbue personality on script rations, convince on short time. Not all of them make it, in this theatre of war and the fame game in general. That baby faced interpreter might be alright. The horrorshow jungle that eats you and disorientates you and offers no moments relief. Stone puts you right in there. The violence overwhelming, the constant threat seeps into you. The heady pull between Berenger’s tyrannical killer (career best) and Dafoe’s more spiritual CO. The good vibes soundtrack and camaraderie between the assaults and offensives. It might be pure but it ain’t perfect. It is heavy handed… a little too on target… Adagio for Strings is wheeled out a few too many times. And those Christ metaphors ain’t subtle. You wouldn’t see this kinda heavy ordinance movie win Academy Awards now but I’m glad it gave Olly a couple of decades freedom to fuck the frame and tell epic morale destroying treatises on modern America.
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