ARCHIVE FILE | Soldier’s perspective in Platoon

5 08 2008

Platoon shows the POV of an infantry soldier” — similar statements can be read in almost every review. But not often it is mentioned that this line can be taken literally.

Actually there are only two takes in the whole movie filmed from a crane: a very short glimpse of soldiers entering the village and a longer sequence of the soldiers leaving the burning place behind. All other takes are literally filmed from a POV of a soldier: walking, crawling, sometimes flying on a helicopter. IMO this choice is a part of the claustrophobic mood that seems to enclose the viewer and of the I-was-there feeling I remember so well from the cinema.

Often the camera seems to be another actor participating in the dialogs. Sometimes the characters speak almost directly to the camera like Rhah in the Underground scene. In the “First time” dialog Elias looks, talks and points his gun directly at the viewer (maybe that’s why the moment is so intimidating, at least to me).

For years now I plan to observe other movies regarding their POVs, but I still forget about it.The only confirmation of this being a deliberate choice is the commentary on Born on the 4th of July where Stone talks of using the POV of the wheelchair to underline the claustrophobic feeling despite the widescreen format he used for the movie.

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