Thursday, February 07, 2008

REVIEW: Platoon


Year: 1986
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Forest Whitaker, Keith David
Distributor: MGM Home Entertainment
MPAA: Rated R

Sorry about the delay in movie reviews. I have been extremely busy with other projects these past few days, but enough about that. On to the movie. Platoon is considered one of the best war films of our time and many if not all will agree. Its also considered one of Oliver Stone's best films. The movie was released in 1986 on a budget of $6 million and grossed an estimated $136 million. Not only that, but the film won 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture. With all of this said, I just had to see what I was missing out on.

Plot Outline:
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) volunteers for service in the Vietnam war only to discover that he hasn't really thought about how tough its going to be. He wants to live up to his father who served in World War II, but he soon realizes that the war is not a place for him to be. As time passes by, he gets deeper into the war and a conflict breaks out between the two lieutenants and veterans of Taylor's platoon: Sgt. Bob Barnes (Tom Berenger) and Sgt. Elias Grodin (Willem Dafoe). The conflict splits the troop in two. One part is supporting Elias and the other part supports Barnes. This is when Taylor realizes that this war is about more than just a fight against the enemy, but rather themselves.

The story of Platoon is really great. The story gets really engaging and rough. It starts off kind of slow, but picks up real fast. Sad, aggressive and dark, these are words I would use to describe the story of Platoon. The plot is every bit thrilling as All Quiet on the Western Front. We get introduced to these characters that seem very friendly and nice at the beginning of the film, but turn more aggressive and crazy as the movie progresses. This movie won Best Picture at the time of its release and frankly, I couldn't agree more. It features a great plot that's not really something original, but still very effective. I think Oliver Stone did a fantastic job directing the movie and he definitely deserves some appreciation. In all in all, I would definitely rank this films story up their with the rest of the better war films. You have to see this film to experience it.

The cast of Platoon is well put. Everyone seems just about right for their roles. Charlie Sheen plays Chris Taylor who happens to be the narrator and the main character of this film. He gives a great performance that is probably the best he has ever given and I really enjoyed his talent. Willem Dafoe plays Sgt. Elias Grodin and hes very good in his role. I wouldn't say this is Dafoes best performance ever, but hes still very good in his role. Then we have Tom Berenger playing Sgt. Bob Barnes who is probably the disliked person in the film, but even he gives a great performance. Hes very fast and knows what hes talking about. We also get Forest Whitaker playing as Big Harold, but he doesn't really give a bang up performance. I just think his character wasn't given enough push to really give a superb performance.

The visual look of the film is kind of a mixed bag at times. Generally the film looks very sharp with many outdoor shots looking very beautiful. Theirs alot of attention to detail in many of the shots like the rain drops off the trees and leaves or the dark fires that run through the village. Everything looks very good and clear. Environments look nice and vivid with the movie taking place in the jungle. Here's the part where things don't add up. Their are many scenes in the movie that are filmed at night in many dark areas, but these scenes seem alittle too dark. Their are some scenes that are too dark that you cant really see whats going on. This is the only problem with the movies visual look. Other than that, everything else looks pretty solid with many moments that are simply amazing.

The movie has a very solid soundtrack that's composed by Georges Delerue. The music is very cleaver and goes with whats going on the screen. Its very well produced and really captures the feel of the movie. Since this is a war movie, you might have assumed the bass to be raised up pretty high and your certainly right to assume. The bass is definitely cranked up pretty big to a certain point. Although the bass is good at times, I just wish it was cranked up alittle higher like Transformers style. The movie is mostly told through narration so it was pretty important for the dialogue to be crisp and clear or else it wouldn't pan out good, but I'm happy to say it certainly delivers. Voices are dynamic and fluid through out the film. I'm happy to say, I was more than pleased with the movies soundtrack.

Platoon is a great movie based on the Vietnam War. The story is well made with many of the cast giving fantastic performances. They were really great in their roles. The visual look of the movie is pretty damn dark, but still sharp and clear at the same time. The soundtrack is well produced with dialogues being very crisp and clear with a bass that will put your speakers to the test. I can recommend this movie if your a fan of war movies or just an Oliver Stone fan. Its very violent and pretty powerful. Its not an easy film to watch, but one that's worth experiencing.

Grade: B+

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