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Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Dramatization of Ron Kovic's life struggle. Impassioned and heart felt performance from Tom Cruise
This is a wonderful film. It captures and encapsulates the viewer in it's depiction of one man's life torn apart in turn becoming a metaphor for a broken nation. The crippling of Ron Kovic was a mirror to the crippling of the United States of America because of the Vetinam war. A country divided and a young mind changed forever in it's on going struggle to understand the insanity and horror of war.
Tom Cruise gives the performance of his career as Ron kovic going from shy, high school all American kid to wheelchair bound Vietnam veteran. His transformation, downward spiral and consequent salvation are handled with masterful strokes by Oliver Stone. He himself a Vietnam veteran, was able to capture the disbelief and feelings of betrayal from the wounded and crippled soldiers as they returned from a war with no basis or grounds to a country that gave no hero's welcome. The fire of their rage only fueled by the apathetic Nixon administration calling upon it's "silent majority" to endorse his war tactics whilst ignoring the cry of the returning soldiers.
As a film it strays somewhat from the book it was based on and there are events depicted that were completely fabricated but overall the feeling of innocence lost come across well. The low and tight camera angles used to heighten the claustrophobia when Ron returns home in his wheelchair is a clever cinematic devise. The performance of the actors in this film are believable and true to the area the story is set in.
I urge people to read Ron Kovic's book as well as seeing this film. They are both important topical, period pieces of the late 60's, early 70's Vietnam era in America.
The Doors (1991)
Great visual film that concentrates on one aspect of a brilliant but troubled rock legend.
Jim Morrison wrote many of the Doors songs and was a complete drunk by the time he died in 1971. This film depicts Morrison in a very one sided view. Yes he was an alcoholic with a disregard for authority, yes he was on self destruct mode and burnt out quickly reaffirming the James Dean "Live fast Die young" motif. But what is missing from Stone's depiction of him was his great intellect,his absurd humour and his natural talent as a composer and vocalist. However it is a wonderfully visual film that takes the viewers on a hallucinogenic ride through drug hazed Los Angeles in the late 60's. It was the first of many films that Stone created in the 90's using an almost dream like quality to evoke the feeling of the turbulent times.
Although this picture is not a 100% accurate account of who or what Jim Morrison was it is still very engaging and enjoyable. A good place for someone who is new to the Doors to start.