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|Index||56 reviews in total|
I went to see this film because I am a River Phoenix fan, but when Ms.
Taylor appeared on the screen my breath was taken away. Never before
have I witnessed a more likable charater as well as an incredibly
sincere performance by such a young actress. I also was curious as to how anyone could tell a story about the Vietnam
war in a new way. Bob Comfort, the screenwriter is a genius as is Nancy
Savoca, the director. The closing scene is brilliant in its use of silence and facial
expressions. The war footage is minimal but poignant. This is a perfect
film and one of the best films eve
Dogfight is a little gem that is so often overlooked in so many ways. The most obvious is that people today often only watch this film to see River Phoenix, an actor we all so sorely miss, but most often, unless you are a real hardcore fan, this one is not the one you rent to see him in. The usual famous films of his career, My Own Private Idaho, Stand by Me, etc., are always rented first and although these are great films, none of them are as subtly beautiful, compelling and important as Dogfight. (Stand by Me comes close.) And I've seen every one of River's films. He turns in a touching and believable performance as usual, but the best surprise of this film, other than the sure handed direction, is Lili Taylor. She is so likeable an so touching that you end up arguing every point she makes. She will always make you smile. The story is very dark and not romantic, yet it's also an out and out love story. In my opinion, it's also the best war film ever made. This being said about a film with only one war scene. I say this because unlike other war films, you get to know and love these young marines and understand their world, then realize how these men's worlds are shattered by the fight: the true tragedy of a war. The onscreen chemistry between Lili and River is so nonexistent at first glance, that it's overwhelmingly pure and true. This is how two people with nothing in common, yet everything in common would act together. And the sequence where Eddie goes off to Okinawa after his night with Rose, with the great folk music of the era playing is like a beautiful dream we all have, a dream we never want to end. The same is true of the beautifully orchestrated, ever so gentle sequence in the music room at the fair. You never want these two people to pull away from the embrace. I do not enjoy romance films, but I don't think there is anyone who could dislike this film because it is so real and belivable. I've never seen a film that is so moving, yet not corny or sappy in ANY way. And it has one of the best endings in film history,the only way a real love story can end: unknown. It allows you to contemplate and figure out for yourself what's goin to happen for these two characters in the future, something also so indicative of the time period. This film also has an extraordinary soundtrack with the best folk artists of the era including Bob Dylan, Peete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez for people who are interested. NO ONE CAN MISS THIS MASTERPIECE! It's truly unforgettable and opens you up to the awkwardness and the perfectness of love, (or something like it), in a way very few films accomplish or even attempt.
Just wonderful little sleeper about a young man (in 1963) about to be
shipped off to war, having one last night with an unattractive young woman.
This is more of a character study and love story than anything else with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor both just superb in their roles. The script is sharp and refreshingly unsentimental and the film is extremely well cast right down to the smallest roles. Excellent, restrained use of period music also. Watching this movie is somewhat uncomfortable though because of Phoenix--in the movie he is so handsome and full of life--it's depressing to remember he died of a drug overdose. Still, him and Taylor are so great and believable in their roles you get caught up in the movie.
I do have a few minor complaints--Phoenix's constant swearing got annoying (although it does lead up to a very funny scene in a restaurant with Taylor) and the ending seems somewhat forced and rushed--although I have to admit I cried. Still these are minor complaints.
A beautiful, understated film that deserves much more recognition than it ever got. Well worth seeking out.
Dogfight captures the feelings of the mid to late 1960's in San Francisco.
It accurately shows the characteristics of young U.S. Marines destined for
Vietnam. They are insensitive and cruel to the young women they invite to
the 'Dogfight' because of their youth and the situation they find
in as G.I.'s. Being in the Air Force during this period I could relate to
their crudeness as a posture taken by some young men as a defense against
their environment. Being insensitive was a way to deal with their
over which they had little control. The movie also accurately portrayed
young G.I.'s bond with other young guys who in civilian life they might not
have bothered to befriend.
The love story involves a girl invited to the 'Dogfight' (a contest to see who could bring the ugliest girl) and the young Marine who brings her. She breaks through his shell of indifference and they become friends and lovers.
Lilly Taylor and River Phoenix are terrific. Their characters ring true and my wife and I cared very much about what happened to them.
Phoenix's return to S.F. after his tour in Vietnam was just as I experienced it. Although I was not returning from overseas when I returned the Bay Area in 1969, I discovered that the San Francisco of 1965 was totally gone and replaced with a foreign land.
'Dogfight' is accurately nostalgic for those of my generation and perhaps older. Younger viewers get to enjoy a truly good love story. They also get a glimpse of life as a young G.I. during that uniquely explosive period of change and social upheaval in America during the middle to late 1960's.
I've seen it a million times, and it will always be one of my favorites.
But what always struck me about this film is the silence - it opens very
quietly, with no music and only muffled voices of the passengers on a bus.
Our first views of the main character Eddie are of him sitting alone on a
bus and at a truck stop. It is a perfect way to introduce a character that
changes so much from beginning to end. In fact, the film starts at the
end, and we are allowed to see the past when Eddie reminisces all that
happened to him before he left for Okinawa. The movie has a quiet subtle
way about it all the way through. There are tender, heartbreaking moments,
but also moments that will have you laugh hysterically. Among the many
issues the film addresses are honesty, friendship, forgiveness, war, and
love. Someone said this is not a very romantic film, and I agree. It is
not romantic in the way that most romances are. It is a decidely
un-Hollywood approach to love, which is what makes it so memorable. The
first kisses are not beautiful and elegant. They are awkward and uncertain
in the most realistic way. They are not backed by melodramatic music, but
rather the music that those characters would have really heard in their own
ears. The poetry of it is that it ends the same way it began - in the
quietest way possible, showing that for the two characters words are not
"Dogfight", starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, is a surprisingly charming film. It tells a love story born of peculiar circumstances, much like "Marty" starring Ernest Borgnine. Phoenix and Taylor are quiet and awkward people on seemingly different paths who spend a short time together and wind up falling deeply in love with one another. The film is set against the backdrop of the autumn of 1963, prior to immense change in the United States. It is an intelligent work with a keen visual sense--watch for a kissing scene where our leads practically become musicbox dancers--and fine acting.
DOGFIGHT is one of favorite films. The two leads actors share perfect a
chemistry, making their interaction a pleasure to watch. Not to mention,
Mr. Phoenix's screen presence is incredible. In fact, I could've followed
him around the whole night. Furthermore, there is a great amount of
foreshadowing on and off the screen. When Eddie (Phoenix) discusses
Vietnam, he mentions its a small mess and that he'll be back in a few
months. We, however, know that a different course lies ahead. In addition,
this is one of Mr. Phoenix's final films, a glimpse of a magnificent only
two years before his tragic demise. As a result, actor-character parallel
almost each other, which I found to be truly sad. In addition, I give my
credits to Bob and Nancy for executing a perfect ending. Yet, for me, this
picture will always be a testament to one of the finest actors of our
generation; may his spirit live on.
Ted's Grade: A-
This movie contains fantastic performances by Lili Taylor and River Phoenix. The story is very slight and it takes awhile to get going, but for ninety minutes I was interested in these people, especially Taylor. The scene where she orders dinner for herself in an upscale restaurant is very funny. The whole thing makes me miss River very much also.
If you were to pick out one River Phoenix film from his cannon of films, to show to someone unfamiliar to his movies, this would be it. It is quite simply a wonderful performance. Although this received an almost non existant cinema release, the magic of this movie will continue for future generations through word of mouth, as I have found, when people discover it, they just want to go out and tell people to watch it! The ending is perfect and says so much more than a thousand words ever could.
I first watched Dogfight as an 18yr teenager living on an army barracks in Australia it was a movie that I enjoyed and could relate to slightly, after knowing quite a few soldiers! But I came across the film once more, now years later and so it has both a sentimentality to it especially now as River isn't alive anymore and I'm not so young! This film is gentle and it is so real and the actors are magic on it, I believe in their characters and the characters all mean something special to me. Eddie Birdlace is just a version of so many young soldiers that join up and suddenly find themselves in a culture of bragging and shagging and the loyalty to their army buddies is fiercely upheld. I was also a chubby young girl who knew how it felt to be embarrassed when a group of army boys went by and would blush under their smirks so I definitely related to Rose as well, and it tugged on my heartstrings so much. THis movie touches my heart and I don't think you can ask much more of a movie than that.
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