We are offered no such respite here. From the moment fresh-faced recruit Chris Taylor Charlie Sheen begins his tour of duty, he suffers not from existential ennui, but as the consequence of a constant barrage of everyday torments — searing tropical heat, dehydration, mosquito bites, giant biting ants crawling all over his body.
When he writes to his grandmother to explain that Vietnam feels like hell, he means it earnestly. While most of the fiction features in this list take great pains to portray US soldiers as victims first and foremost, Stone refuses to offer such comfort to his audience. Over the course of a single horrifying scene, inspired by the notorious My Lai massacre, we see one young American bludgeon a disabled Vietnamese man to death, while another holds a girl at gunpoint in front of her mother, and others still lurk in the woods and rape a young woman.
On that front at least, the film is an unequivocal triumph. The widely praised opening sequence, in which a group of new recruits are brutalised at boot camp by the unhinged Gunnery Sergeant Hartman R. Lee Ermey , remains an abrasively funny skewering of macho military culture.
When US military leaders ordered the capture of Hill in May , they did so primarily as a diversionary tactic. The area, later nicknamed Hamburger Hill, was of next to no strategic value, and was abandoned shortly after the mission proved successful. A sense of utter futility permeates this fictionalised account of the battle.
Our handsome young protagonists are acutely aware of both the pointlessness of the mission and their powerlessness to question orders. Meanwhile Irvin uses eye-popping horror movie violence — exploding heads, ruptured organs, fountains of blood — sparingly, to truly shocking effect.
It remains to this day unmatched as a vehicle for the particular talents of Robin Williams , who stars as motor-mouthed military DJ Adrian Cronauer. Off air, Cronauer is an altogether more subdued character, who is forced to confront the grim realities of war after falling for a Vietnamese girl and befriending her brother. He was promptly captured by Pathet Lao troops and taken to a prison camp, where he was brutally tortured over a period of six months. Against all odds he eventually escaped, and was rescued by a passing American Air Force pilot after spending 23 days lost in the jungle.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. While he refuses to admit guilt or directly apologise for his actions, he freely admits that he made grave mistakes during his time under both Kennedy and Johnson. His conclusions are often disarmingly frank and piercingly incisive: Morris seamlessly and playfully integrates arresting archive footage, while a stirring Philip Glass score lends a sense of high drama to proceedings.