Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 1986. Hemdale. Screenplay by Oliver Stone. Cinematography by Robert Richardson. Produced by Arnold Kopelson. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Bruno Rubeo. Costume Design by Wynn Arenas. Film Editing by Claire Simpson. Academy Awards 1986. Golden Globe Awards 1986. Independent Spirit Awards 1986. New York Film Critics Awards 1986.
Outstanding film about the Vietnam war that is right up there with The Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now and stands on its own merit for being the best of the Vietnam films to deal directly with combat. The rigorous experiences of a platoon of soldiers are seen through the eyes of a green recruit (Charlie Sheen) whose family’s money could have kept him home were it not for his desire to serve his country and avoid the unfair trappings of class. Once there, his eyes are opened wide to the reality of the conflict, a topsy-turvy world where the most dangerous enemy is actually playing on his side of the fence. Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe steal their every scene (not that it’s hard, Sheen is actually pretty weak in a very well written role) as opposing forces in the group whose Cain-and-Abel relationship provides for the film’s devastating climax. Oliver Stone’s direction was never this taut again, and his screenplay is a fantastic piece of work chock full of brilliant observations and character details that would seem like stock cliches in the copycat movies to follow.