Platoon (1986)

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I didn’t love this film. It’s hard to love a war film, especially one like this, one that seeks to show the harsh realities of it. Platoon focuses on Chris (Charlie Sheen) a young man growing up while serving in the Vietnam War. My favorite part of this movie was when the audience is seeing strictly from Chris’s perspective. This instances really pulled me into the film and into the experience of war. I also enjoyed Chris’s letter (or letters? Can’t quite remember) to his grandmother. I thought it was an effective way to give a little bit of a commentary without being too exposition heavy. I really enjoyed watching Chris grow and how he was affected by both the war and the people he was surrounded by.

Elias (Willem Dafoe), Chris (Charlie Sheen), and Barnes (Tom Berenger).
Elias (Willem Dafoe), Chris (Charlie Sheen), and Barnes (Tom Berenger).

A highlight of this film for me was the superb acting and presence of Willem Dafoe as Elias. Elias (other than maybe Chris) is the most likeable character in Platoon. There were times when Willem came on screen, smiling that smile of his, which made me smile in return. I’ve always known he was a great actor, but this is the first time Willem’s acting has truly affected me (I haven’t seen very many of his films).
The other thing that I found unique and interesting about Platoon was the use of lighting. It was atmospheric (I guess?). Lighting that would actual exist in the real world, not fake movie lighting. The way the light falls through the canopy of leaves or a face barely illuminated in the dark. It really struck me as did the score. The music is perfect and used sparingly, making it all the more effective. I found it quite refreshing since these days there seems to be a lot of background music in films and it can be distracting.

Oh yeah, young Johnny Depp! I think he only speaks once or twice, but whatever.
Oh yeah, young Johnny Depp! I think he only speaks once or twice, but whatever.

I’m not a big fan of war movies, so my reaction to this film is a little subdued. I can see how people more interested in these kinds of films would enjoy Platoon more. I’m glad I watched it, but it’s not a film I will be revisiting anytime soon. 7/10

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4 thoughts on “Platoon (1986)

  1. Great review! I prefer modern warfare type movies to the old Vietnam / World War 2 type films but this is without doubt still one of the best war movies made.

    I know what you mean though, it’s not one you rush to watch regularly. Lovely and deserved comments about Dafoe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Depp looks like a little baby! Holy shit!

    Anyways, I can hardly remember this flick. Yet I believe you immediately about how good Dafoe is. The man is an excellent actor with great screen presence. Especially when he plays shady characters!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dafoe definitely makes this movie for me. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Platoon, and I don’t even know if I watched it all in one sitting but it’s definitely not a movie for everyone. I usually enjoy war movies but rarely love them. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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