Stone’s commentary

23 03 2008

Actually, I feel like I’m hearing a complete new commentary EACH time I listen to it. Does it mean my English is improving?

Here are other bits I could hear this time:

  • Front was no place for cerebral thinking — it was all about radar, about instincts. You needed to be a natural born warrior — some guys did the best they could … but some were dead in the moment they put on the uniforms
  • we’ve lost a Philipino crew member while building the tunnels
  • Richard Edson was a member of the band Lounge Lizards
  • Barnes is loved by his men because he cares for them. Military affection… and it’s clear he is emotionally involved with them.
  • Elias had an element of individuality that worked against the machine
  • Barnes is a street fighter
  • I felt that about Barnes: That he had dead eyes, he’d been the death, he’d been back, across the gulf. That’s what gave him this power over men.

Actually Stone says about Barnes prototype: “he was shot…” – makes a pause to let O’Neil say his joke, and ends: “…was shot in the face… and had miraculous recovery, blah blah blah.” So maybe the “real” Barnes survived.
Stone was wounded the 2. time on Jan 15th 1968 (the church ambush scene)

Stone also names Firebase Burt, attacked on 1st Jan 68. The battle was never mentioned in any source about Vietnam War, so until Hemphill’s book came out, Stone started to think it had never happened and that he’d imagined that night.

The battles in the movie are actually reversed in time.

Two reviews

23 03 2008

A review from New York Times:

Much like Mr. Herr’s ”Dispatches,” this vivid, terse, exceptionally moving new film deals with the immediate experience of the fighting that is, with the life of the infantryman, endured at ground level, in heat and muck, with fatigue and ants and with fear as a constant, even during the druggy hours back in the comparative safety of the base.



The platoon’s most important figures are two NCO’s, each an exhausted, self-aware veteran of earlier Vietnam tours: the facially scarred Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger), who has somehow become committed to the war, which is all he has left, and Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe), whom the war has made as eerily gentle as Barnes is brutal. The two men, longtime friends, loathe each other.* (…)

A first viewing of Platoon? might leave you so awed by its brutal starkness that you might not notice the melodrama. (…)

In many ways the three leads and their strife are like this narration: they exist somewhat outside the movie, detached from it, and are examining the plight of the real soldiers. (…)

The other similarity between Platoon and Line is that the Christ figures from both movies went on to play Christ. (…)

Nearly 20 years later, the most popular American film of 1986 the one that has aged well, is talked about most, and more people have seen might no longer be Platoon but is probably Aliens, which won the Oscar for Visual Effects. Both films have been copied beyond count. It’s interesting to note the similarities between the two of them, both about presumptuous, heavily-armed Americans facing an invisible, unknown presence that they would rather kill than understand (James Cameron wrote Aliens with Vietnam in mind).

*I wonder what made the reviewer have the same impression as me about Barnes and Elias being friends in the past. 😉

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