By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) is a fresh replacement seeing combat for the first time in the midst of the darkest days of the war in Vietnam. The war is lived through his eyes, as he experiences severe exhaustion from the elements, witnesses acts of cruelty from his own fellow soldiers, and watches as his platoon’s two seasoned Sergeants fight each other, seemingly more viciously than the enemy. Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) is a tough vet whose brutal style of command has become the norm. He contends with Sergeant Elias (Willam Dafoe), who has become disenchanted with the war effort, but nonetheless is a strong tactician and fiercely defensive of his men. Their command styles clash with each other, driving a dangerous (and ultimately deadly) stake through the heart of the unit.
Metaphorically speaking, of course…
Director Oliver Stone’s pessimistic vision of the Vietnam war remains one of the most affecting and emotionally gipping anti-war statements ever put to celluloid. Civil-War-era Union General William Tecumseh Sherman once declared that “War is Hell”. I can’t help but wonder how he’d react to the war in Vietnam. Would he feel vindicated, or distraught at his grave understatement? Either way, Oliver Stone’s taught direction and attention to detail highlights the brutal realities of war, both physical and psychological.
Does this look like a sane, morally upright individual?
While the gory violence might be what made the film so infamous, it is the mentality of its characters, the unglued nature by which they follow orders, that made the film truly disturbing. The sequence in which the unit attacks a Vietnamese village is particularly difficult to watch, not because of the horrific actions taken by the soldiers, but rather because of how the film makes clear this is what war makes of everyone. The real savagery of war is that it throws out all common decency and morality. War is purified violence, and any attempts to put rules into it are fought every step of the way by our instincts.
I have no joke here, this really is fucked all the way of the hell up…
You might feel the urge to drink away the depression this film will inevitably give you, but you’ll never forget it…
Take a Drink: any time Willem Dafoe intervenes on someone’s behalf
Take a Drink: any time “Gook” or “Fuck” is spoken
Do a Shot: whenever a member of the Platoon is KIA