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Platoon (1986) - Directed by Oliver Stone

"It was once said hell is the impossibility of reason. That's what this place feels like. Hell."



The first war movie I can remember seeing is Pearl Harbor when I was around 11. And while I "harbor" no special feelings for it (I am not apologizing), I can say it helped me enjoy the idea of a war movie. There are things I love about war movies, and things I hate about them. And I think this review will easily cover them with the best war movie to user for the topic: Platoon.

Platoon takes both the things I love and things I hate about war movies, and uses them at extremes. Directed by war veteran Oliver Stone, Platoon reminds the world of the attitudes of the soldiers we support, and how we as Americans can succumb to pride as much as the next country that wants to blow someone's ass off. It's a reminder that soldiers, even when in the face of the enemy, should act like a hero. That's something I hate about war movies: the attitudes people have towards each other. It's part of the reason I couldn't watch The Human Condition.

But what I love about war movies is the sense of completion, destiny, and heroism that drives people to become something, like a soldier for example. Young people are always looking for a way to make their mark in the world, and warzones test the emotional limits of each and every soldier out there. Platoon capitalized on that in certain plot points, as soldiers were pitted against the enemy (and occasionally each other) in the stressful and bloody battles of the Vietnam War. That's what I love about movies.

But these weren't the only things that made this film so special. it is a movie, after all. Platoon was occasionally even paced, and occasionally faster-paced, depending on the situations. And the action itself was incredible. I can remember being quite shaken after some of the war scenes. It takes a special kind of movie to get me shaken. The last time was with Seven, but I'll cover that elsewhere. Not to mention, Platoon's realism came mostly from the characters. Their attitudes about the many situations and surroundings felt so realistic, and even stressful to the point where I either shared the characters' pains or wished some of them to get their asses blown.

Platoon isn't a movie I can watch without getting pissed off. But I love the movie nonetheless. This is what I meant by it being a movie that took all of the things I loved and hated about war movies, and took them to extremes. And as a side note, I'll point out it's my favorite Willem DaFoe movie.