Platoon is a Tour de Force
Even for those people who haven't seen the whole movie, they are probably familiar with Willem Dafoe's dramatic death pose on the front of the DVD. It is a powerful metaphor for the movie itself, which along with Apocalypse Now does the best job of capturing the spirit of the Vietnam War - a heart-rending sense of madness, death without reason, betrayal by your countrymen, and the loss of innocence. In fact, if Platoon had utilized Apocalypse Now's cinematography and effects, it would be in contention for the finest war movie ever made. Charlie Sheen is a bit stiff in one of his earlier big roles, and the final chopper dialogue is a bit contrived, but other than that the movie is dead-on, especially with Dafoe and Berenger. This is one of those movies that after viewing makes you feel weary, yet also satisfied and emotionally charged. The classical orchestra piece by Samuel Barber that fronts the movie is one of the most moving pieces of music that I have ever heard. Vietnam was where America lost its innocence, and Platoon shows us how it happened. Everyone should own this film.
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