JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Platoon (Director: Oliver Stone) - September 12, 2021


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120 min.

‘The enemy was in us’

How ironically coincidental that my project of reviewing all Best Pictures ever, would turn up Platoon barely a week after the end (but most certainly not the conclusion) of the United States’ longest-ever war—like Vietnam, the second-longest war, again on the “losing” side (most wars have few winners, just redrawing of maps and citizen upheaval).

Very annoyingly, director-writer Oliver Stone chose Samuel Barber’s 1936 masterpiece, Adagio for Strings, as the film’s cantus firmus—a work I have conducted many times, feeling its intensity and passion in every bar. Dying five years before the film took Oscar, one can only imagine if the versatile composer would have approved that his subliminal work be used as the soundscape for murder, pillaging, rape and death near the Cambodia/Vietnam border. When injuries do hit the “good guys,” they are admonished to “Shut up and take the pain” for fear of attracting more enemy fire—probably simpler for all if they would just die quietly.

Of course, Stone’s (a Vietnam vet) production never offers a meaningful word as to why so many soldiers, innocents and traitors were doomed to an early grave. The same can also be said for 20 years of non-results in Afghanistan.

Do see it again and then reflect on Chris’ (Charlie Sheen in the role of a lifetime) closing line, “The enemy is within us”. Republicans everywhere would dismiss that as fake news. JWR

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Director - Oliver Stone
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