Best Picture Reviews: Platoon

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(Either he’s dying or he just won the Super Bowl.)

Okay, in all seriousness, I was not looking forward to seeing the 1986 Best Picture winner simply because it’s a war movie. Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows I’ve never been a big fan of the genre. And yet, I found Platoon to be a very pleasant surprise.

Director Oliver Stone was actually a veteran in the Vietnam war, and he based the film off of his own experience. Maybe it’s that expertise, but the film manages to drop you right into the action in a more effective way than any war movie I’ve seen yet. It’s hard to explain exactly what makes this film work, but a good amount of credit is due to the editing and sound design, which helps to immerse you into the war.

The film is also helped by strong performances by Dafoe and Berenger, and especially by Charlie Sheen. The friendship forged between the men is so natural that you feel as if you are with them, and Sheen’s narration gives us a great insight into his character without coming off as unnecessary.

This is one of those movies where it’s hard to explain exactly how it works. All, I know is, it does. The movie felt like it got its message across more effectively than any other war movie I’ve seen, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

*****

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