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
Why I think Platoon is probably the best war movie Hollywood ever made? Because it's very humane. I mean it. The director sees all his characters as victims of war rather than heroes or villains. Have a closer look at 'em.
Taylor has no power inside himself and is torn between the two fathers; he ends up with a physical act of revenge. This is not what one father taught him - and the other father is actually murdered by him.
Sgt. Barnes would never fit the postwar life and knew it damn too well himself; after all, he is not a fool although might seem a senseless killing machine at first sight. Vietnamese bullets could not kill him, his talent for survival being his enemy. So, he attempts kinda suicide twice (at least) begging others to kill him and thus end the pain tearing him from inside: first, in the potheads' bunker scene after Taylor's accusations; then, when Taylor finds him in the final scene.
Sgt. Elias was far too good to survive the Nam and maybe even challenged and annoyed lifers on purpose, waiting for some bob barnes to hit back :) It's a pity Stone excluded the stars' scene monologue which explains pretty much about Elias' ways and view of the future. In fact, for himself he sees no future. Not in this world that is all about betrayal and killing.
Bunny and Junior, one the embodiment of somewhat sadistic bravery and the other of cowardice. Their deaths are partly a morality, partly to show that it does not matter if you're black or white, brave or cowardly, war makes no difference wiping off everyone it can.
King, Big Harold, Francis are survivors yet victims, too. What is awaiting them in the "real" world where nobody understands and nobody respects anything? They are dreaming of a comeback to music, girlfriends, fun time - but reality bites, and who knows, will they find their spot under the sun or will be forced to use the skills obtained in the Nam and get engaged in crime and drug abuse?
Red O'Neill talking about his ability to predict if a guy is gonna make it or not. A reflection of his own fears: shall I stay alive and get out of here or not. The odds are that he is not, and Stone nails him to the place with Captain's order to take over what was once the Platoon... Bye Patsy.
The idea that Stone has been trying to bring forward to us is NOT (to my mind) a story of struggle between the good and the bad for the possession of Taylor's soul (remember, the boy became a murderer in the end), but: where is war there can be no escape. Leave hope everyone who enters.
Highest rate ever for that.
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