After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon. Written by
The 1980s in general and the mid 1980s in particular aren't highly regarded where pop culture is concerned , this is most especially true in cinema where films seemed to be written around their soundtrack in much the same way as Hollywood movies nowadays seem to be written around their special effects . PLATOON is one of the very few films from that period that has an emotional impact , an impact that it still retains while watching it in 2003.
Everyone else seems to have mentioned what makes PLATOON a classic anti-war ( Note it's anti-war , not anti American or anti soldier ) movie along with being a classic movie , so I won't go over old ground except to say THAT death scene is up there with all the other tear jerking scenes from 20th century cinema , don't be ashamed to say you cried
If PLATOON has a flaw it's in its duality , there's the good Sarge/bad Sarge , good officer/bad officer , good white guy/bad white guy , good black guy/bad black boy etc which is maybe a bit clichéd and possibly leads me to believe Stone is making an excuse/reason that the Americans lost in Vietnam because that spent so much fighting each other rather than the VC ( Though I do concede I'm possibly misinterpreting that as an excuse or even a reason since no one will confuse the politics of Stone with the politics of John Wayne ) while Taylor's character comes across as being more of a literary device rather than a real human being , but these are minor flaws
It's a shame to see war films from the last few years devoid of scathing anti-war sentiments like the ones seen here . PLATOON screams at you " War is hell and whatever the rights and wrongs of conflict you need a bloody good reason to wage war . Vietnam wasn't a good enough reason to sacrifice human lives "
149 of 202 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?