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Part Of Rodent's 15 Review Marathon Of The 1980s Classics And Their Sequels

Review #158 (13th of 15): Platoon

In 1967, Chris Taylor is thrown into the harsh world of the Vietnam War.
Finding it hard to fit in around some of the more battle hardened members of the Platoon, he finds himself alienated and contemplating some of his failings in life and how fruitless war really is.
As his tour of duty goes on, he becomes a more respected soldier in the group, but at the same time discovers the real depths of depravity that the human psyche can delve to...

... and as his mission goes deeper into the Jungle, he discovers that his Band of Brothers have become just as twisted as the mission itself.

A highly philosophical war movie laced with one of the best screenplays and some of the finest acting in any movie of its kind, Platoon is an absolute must see for any movie fan.

The special thing about the movie though is that the philosophical side of the film from Taylor's point of view isn't built on to the point of becoming boring.
The movie has a tendency to throw action and some disturbing turns of events into the mix, showing the Platoon's reactions during the action and events, then having Taylor show and talk (with an inner monologue) about what he's just seen.

It's an incredibly clever balancing act of drama, action, emotion and sheer acting.

There's also some immensly clever and real character developements throughout too with the various soldiers involved. The ensemble cast makes the best of the developements too, they're all on serious top form.

The other thing is the occasional hits of humour throughout, some of it from the soldiers' reactions to the more exciting scenes but mainly during their down time when they're resting in their tents and camps.
It's very realistic in tone and dialogue.

The effects and action are a definite plus point in the technical side of things too. It's occasionally gory and explosive but utilises fear and human emotion more than anything else and the well written characters add a massive depth to the horrors that are unfolding on screen.
The filmmakers keep it real too, there's no Hollywood nonsense going on in the action.
The other thing is that the film isn't just an all out guns blazing movie, the action is used to tell the story rather than having the story take a backseat to the action.

The acting though, like I said is top drawer.
Charlie Sheen as Taylor is a wonderful turn from Sheen. His character also has a back story and his progression through the story, from newbie to hardened but haunted soldier are fantastically written. It's also by far one of Sheen's most memorable roles.

Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe though are the stand out roles as Sergeant Barnes and Sergeant Elias respectively. Their chalk and cheese personas and differing styles, expecially when they come to loggerheads with one another is certainly some of cinema's greatest showdowns.

Forrest Whittaker, Kevin Dillon, Keith David and Johnny Depp are just a handful of recognisable stars on show giving backup.
John C McGinley stands out among the others too though as a slimy Sergeant who has probably the worst luck out of all the cast.

The soundtrack really ties the film together too. It's not very often I mention soundtracks but Director Oliver Stone really hits the nail on the head.


All in all, a damn fine war movie and it keeps it extremely real in the turns of events. Top acting, top action, top screenplay and top character writing.
It also outweighs most Vietnam movies in terms of sheer tone and direction.

My rating: 98%