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Platoon

review by David G.

 

Rated R

Running Time: 111 Minutes

Starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Beranger, Willem Dafoe, Forrest Withaker, Johnny Depp

Studio: MGM

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 lifes.

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 final score)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(.5/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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