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Last Year in Viet Nam (1971)

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One of Oliver Stone's first films, Last Year in Viet Nam presents part of his personal experiences after coming back as a war veteran from the Vietnam war, trying to cope with terrible ... See full summary »

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One of Oliver Stone's first films, Last Year in Viet Nam presents part of his personal experiences after coming back as a war veteran from the Vietnam war, trying to cope with terrible memories from the front and the recurring sensation of isolation, anguish and alienation he felt while living in New York, still uncertain of what to do with his life. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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free-formed and without a plot, but not without some striking images
10 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Oliver Stone's one and only student film, Last Year in Vietnam, is definitely not the sort of thing to take as any kind of "masterpiece" or revelatory piece into what Stone's career would be like. The only real kind of revelatory, I-can-tell-this-guy-made-it quality to the film are the abstractions, scattered about. This is even more of a post-war outpouring than Platoon is in its own fragmented way. What we get are several minutes of a man in a hotel room, reeling from coming back from Vietnam with bad vibes in him, and we see some of these visions. It's nothing very shocking or outrageous, and there aren't any crazy theories posited in the film. If anything one of the strengths of the work is how it's amalgamation form lets one see into the mind of this character. And, of course, in its obvious way there is an amateurish quality to it, of a guy still figuring out his own style over a decade before he would find it in a regular (at least for him) narrative. But as someone who's seen his share of student films, I have seen a lot worse. The archival footage of Vietnam and whatever else comes from outside the hotel are the best bits, and its short enough to not overstay its welcome- just enough to ruminate over, in a quietly sad way, about a mind in post-war delirium.


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