Cast & Crew: Viggo Mortensen as Elias(2)

19 04 2008

A follow-up from here

Was re-watching The Indian Runner movie with Viggo Mortensen. He is playing Frank, a disturbed young man just coming back from Vietnam. (He is NOT disturbed BECAUSE of the war, btw)

Anyway, after ages of knowing the movie, a patch on his beret caught my attention. Then I realized that he was wearing a Cavalry patch (which I noticed at first watching) but on his RIGHT sleeve (that was new), while there was another one on his left.

Soon I could identify it as 12th Special Forces Group patch, so Frank was a Green Beret, (not really important for the movie, even if it tells a lot about Frank himself). But well, his former unit was AirCav. Like Elias’…

As mentioned here, he was about to play Elias and prepared for a whole year. His dedication to making his characters alive is legendary and I really wonder what Mortensen did dig out. In Platoon script there is actually only one little hint about Elias past in the Cavalry — it’s in the dialog about “Ia Drang in ’66.” The rest of Elias’ background comes from Stone directly. And I don’t think Mortensen discussed anything with Stone, because some years later, Stone didn’t recognized him at all.

There is also the title of the movie — INDIAN Runner. It has nothing to do with Frank himself, but there is an Indian legend present in the background, and Frank actually has some visions of an Indian. Damn, maybe he had Indian ancestors, but nobody noticed? Unfortunately there is no original script to be found on the net, as it could reveal the original ideas in the movie. I know, it has nothing to do with logic, but the word itself made me think of Elias being an Indian too.

Ah, what I wanted to say, in The Indian Runner movie Mortensen surely used some things he found out for Elias, and once I started to think about it, I could even say, he “smuggled” some of his Elias into Frank, even if Frank is more an antithesis of Elias – disturbed, violent, unpredictable, very dark, closer to Bunny than even Barnes. Hence the damn Cav patch on his right sleeve, because there is absolutely no meaning about in which unit he had been before going to the Berets. Oh, yes, Frank is a sergeant too.

Mortensen had also a very convincing scene where he is obviously stoned. His eyes… remind me of Dafoe’s eyes in “feeling good is good enogh”.

Frank Roberts’ (Indian Runner) medals I could identify from the ribbons he’s wearing on his uniform:
Bronze star
a. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who,(…) distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service (…)
b. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

c. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service while of lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

Purple Heart
:a. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force who, while serving with the U.S. Armed Services after 5 April 1917, has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded (…)
Army Good Conduct Medal
: a. The Good Conduct Medal is awarded for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity in active Federal Military service. It is awarded on a selective basis to each soldier who distinguishes himself from among his/her fellow soldiers by their exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity throughout a specified period of continuous enlisted active Federal military service. (…)

Vietnam Service Medal
a. Awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in Vietnam and contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. (…)

Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
: The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal is awarded to personnel who meet one of the following requirements:
a. Served in the Republic of Vietnam for six months during the period of 1 March 1961 and 28 March 1973.

b. Served outside the geographical limits of the Republic of Vietnam and contributed direct combat support to the Republic of Vietnam and Armed Forces for six months.(…)

c. Six months service is not required for individuals who were wounded by hostile forces; killed in action or otherwise in line of duty; or captured by hostile forces.

Well, this set of medals would suit Elias much better than Frank.


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