Friday, December 08, 2006


The film Platoon, directed by Oliver Stone, is possibly the most graphic war movie of all time. Taking place in Vietnam, the film follows the life of Private Chris Taylor, Charlie Sheen, from his first day entering the jungle to his last. Throughout his tour, he faces not only gruesome battles with the Vietnamese soldiers, but also moral dilemmas within himself. Stone was able to portray Taylor’s experience so realistically because he himself was a soldier in the Vietnam War.

Taylor originally chooses to enter war because his father fought in World War II. Taylor was also not doing well in college so he felt like it was a good decision to drop out. However, once he arrives in Vietnam he realizes that he made a big mistake. He comes to realize the hard way that he and his fellow soldiers are not only struggling to maintain their lives from day to day, but also their sanity. In a world with no law enforcement where no rules or ethics apply, Taylor is forced to choose himself between what is right and what is wrong.

This is a very powerful film in many ways. Stone deliberately made the battle scenes extremely graphic in an attempt to convey what Vietnam was really like. For its time, this was as vivid of a portrayal that there was in the eighties. To this day, there have not been many war movies that have lived up to the realistic nature that this film offers. An exception and comparison to this type of film would be “Saving Private Ryan,” directed by Steven Spielberg which took place during D-Day; however, Spielberg did not fight in World War II like Stone fought in Vietnam.

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