Chris Taylor, a neophyte recruit in Vietnam, finds himself caught in a battle of wills between two sergeants, one good and the other evil. A shrewd examination of the brutality of war and the duality of man in conflict.
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Beyond the personal nostalgia and requirements of basic storytelling, Platoon is a film about the impression of light. From the blue wash of the morning manoeuvres, to the flares (used to light the jungle during the final act), the progression, from naturalism to the abstract, suggests the madness of war as a literal descent. Stone's ambition to convey emotion and psychology through experimentation begins here.
The plot is essentially cliffnotes of all the terrible things that went on during Vietnam, coupled with hilarious 1 dimensional caricatures of the 'good' soldiers who smoked weed and waxed philosophical and 'bad' soldiers who were drunk racists who loved war. War is far too complicated to be reduced to a 1 note tune that's just at propagandic as many terrible war films made during WWII.
I understand that Oliver Stone was actually in Vietnam, and that this was meant to be realistic, but holy fuck. If this is realism, then what the Charlie Sheen is Full Metal Jacket? I mean, honestly. And the writing sucks. Sucks.