Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Platoon (DVD)

Sometimes, I ask people troubling questions. What is your drug of choice? Why did you bareback with that guy? Can you snort your coke infront of me? What happened to you in Vietnam during the war?

I do not ask these questions to use those information against them or to judge them. I ask those questions because I simply want to know something. I want to be able to "experience in my mind" how it is to be the person I am talking with.

I am still very curious about that US-led war in Vietnam. I can go there easily if I want to.

This movie has its flaws but I think it served very well the people who watched it during its theatrical release. It is hard not to compare it with "Full Metal Jacket but then the latter feels more intimate, more philosophical, more poetic and thus more memorable. But "Platoon" provides a not so comfortable window and yet realistic faces of the war.

Charlie does not stand out but the supporting actors did. Willem Dafoe is as sinister-looking as Tom Berenger but they are good in portraying the war "within themselves".

The Philippines which provided the backdrop of this movie is just stunningly beautiful. The production design (though low-budgeted) is impressive.

You have to watch the movie again and switch on the commentaries of Oliver Stone and his technical supervisor Captain Dale Dye. Unfortunately, Oliver Stone treats his audience as a shrink and recounts his memories of the battle field than the memories of shooting the movie. Dye's commentary is actually richer with details of how the movie was made and how he trained the main cast members to become theatrically-believable soldiers.

"Platoon" is nice to have in my collection but I treasure "Full Metal Jacket" a lot more.

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