Continuing my plan to watch every Johnny Depp movie in order, I come to Platoon (1986)
The first of Stones Vietnam trilogy. Stone wrote the screenplay based upon his experiences as a U.S. Infantryman in Vietname to counter the vision of the war portrayed in John Waynes The Green Barets. Platoon was the first Hollywood film to be written and directed by a veteran of the Vietnam War. Stone fought for years to get this movie made. Studios didn't want to make another movie about the unpopular war and considered Deer Hunter and Apocolypse Now as the definitive Vietnam movies, and saw no reason to make this.
This really is harrowing viewing, but it's not only the best movie of 1986, its one of the best of the decade.
This movie reminds us, that before he became a tabloid fodder and punchline on late night talk shows Charlie Sheen was once a very promising young actor. His voice-over is eerily reminiscent of Martin Sheen in Apocolypse Now. Willem Defo, Tom Berenger (both playing against type and both Oscar-nominated) John C. McGinley, Kieth David (an actor I always enjoy seeing on screen) and Forest Whitaker are all superb.
The part of Sergeant Barnes was originally offered to Kevin Costner. Although pretty unknown and a few years away from fame, he turned it down because he didn't want to disrespect his brother, who was a Vietnam veteran.
Depp (his helmet reading, "Sherilyn", a tribute to Sherilyn Fenn, whom Depp was dating at the time) is OK, but he fades into the background against the bigger performances, despite a key scene.
Not only did Platoon win Best Picture and Best Director for Stone, it grossed $138 dollars at the domestic box office to end 1986 as the 3rd highest grossing movie of the year.
Action / Drama / War
Action / Drama / War
Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon.
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September 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM