review by David G.
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Beranger, Willem Dafoe,
Forrest Withaker, Johnny Depp
Written and Directed by Oliver Stone
Retail Price: $19.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Collector's Booklet
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital
English, 5.1 Dolby Digital Spanish, French Subtitles,
Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), a young man from a
bourgeois family enlisted himself to the Vietnam war as a
sign of rebellion against his well-established life. But on
the battlefield, he discovers that this war is not only
about to fight the enemy but also fight his own fear and his
own dark side. Powerless, he will assist to the duel between
the war machine Sergeant Barnes (Tom Beranger) and the more
human soldier Sergeant Elias ( Willem Dafoe) for, as he says
itself, the possession of his soul.
Among the many films about the Vietnam war, Platoon is
maybe the most powerful with, of course, Apocalypse Now.
Oliver Stone was inspired by his own experience in Vietnam
and his screenplay describes of course the horrors of war
(there are some bloody sequences) but also the loss of the
innocence of these young man dropped into a war they didn't
understand and where their marks don't exist anymore. They
become then some barbarians killing and raping the innocents
farmers although they were correct guys in their civilian
All the cast is perfect from Tom Beranger who leaks his
madness out, to Charlie Sheen who finds here his best role
touching us with his progressive loss of his innocence.
This movie is maybe my favorite in the war genre, the
directing is strong and straight, never patriotic and the
good feelings are not forced (two reproach we could make to
Saving Private Ryan). Oliver Stone is one the rare
contemporary real filmmakers with John Mc Tiernan and
Michael Mann to be able to bring us such a powerful story.
Less metaphysical than the Francis Ford Coppola's
Apocalypse Now, this movie will be enjoyed by all war films
lovers and those who like strong storyline.
The movie is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen
transfer. Once the main title with many scratch and dust is
finished, the picture becomes very clear particularly in the
jungle scene where the black balance give a great depth to
the picture. It is very pleasant to (re)discover this movie
with a such a beautiful transfer.
You have the choice between a English Dolby Digital 5.1
and a Spanish Dolby Dolby Digital with French and Spanish
subtitles. As this movie is 14 years old, don't expect a
sound as good as recent films (the reference being Saving
Private Ryan of course), the surround speakers and the
subwoofer are unfortunately discreet but the voice and the
very beautiful music of Georges Delerue come to full life.
Nothing but a theatrical trailer and a booklet.
This great movie would have deserved a slight better
treatment since Artisan released a DVD with audio commentary
by Oliver Stone among other stuffs. Nevertheless this copy
is beautiful enough to buy it the eyes closed.
(4.5/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)