Monday, September 3, 2012
MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Platoon
My favourite film for this week is "Platoon" and yes, it's another movie on the Vietnam war. This film however, rises above the stereotypical "war movie" trappings and delivers a mesmerizing movie-watching experience. Unlike other action-oriented films in the genre, this one shines most when exploring the philosophical ideas surrounding war, and society as a whole. This is usually achieved through surprisingly effective narration by Charlie Sheen. Sheen’s voice-over guides you through the film, setting the tone and providing some deep insight. The film showcases the internal warfare that results within platoons as tensions run high and loyalties are tested. In the end, the film proves that war stimulates cruelty not only towards the enemy, but also towards your companions.
While the screenplay alone is able to elevate this film, the production values are also outstanding. This is one of the few times where I noticed the skill involved in a film’s sound design. The sound mixing in this film is really top-notch. Too often we get war movies were the warfare scenes are loud and abrasive, but in this film it’s pleasantly balanced with the dialogue and other ambient sounds. The cinematography is excellent too, employing a striking green motif. Of course, these grand war movies require a capable ensemble cast and this one definitely delivers. John Berenger and Willem Dafoe were definitely deserving of their Oscar nominations, but I was personally most impressed by Charlie Sheen in the lead role. He was the emotional and moral anchor of the film and he handled it extremely well. Ultimately, I would still rate that other famous "Nam" film "Apocalypse Now" higher, but this film is immensely satisfying in its own right.
This film is part of my List of Shame.