The Vietnam war is one that is filled with controversy. Tens of thousands of American dying for a cause most deemed unnecessary. Everyone has seen the stock footage of thousands protesting the war in Washington and it’s a war that has been documented into the feature film format many times, each approaching it different telling a different story, whether it’s Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979), Oliver Stones ‘Platoon’ (1980) or ‘The Fourth of July’ (1989). This story symbolises the destruction of innocence in Vietnam and the obliteration of humanity in U.S politics.
The film follows Erikson (Michael J. Fox) who represents consciousness as Vietnam is literally raped. Who finds himself an outsider of his own squad when they kidnap a female villager.
The main action of this film is from the kidnaping after Sgt. Meserve (Penn) loses a private in the field. One of the things that’s most impressive and provoking about this film is how during the progression of plot, nothing really happens, they simply move along on their patrol. Symbolising the lost direction of the American government in Vietnam.
The film is one of the most horrific of the Vietnam war for the isolation of any humane behaviour which is pioneered by Erikson. It’s his failure to rescue the Vietnamese woman from rape as she is handed to each of the four men and eventually killed as each of the cowardly men demand that each other do the killing that symbolises the lost hope of the military in Vietnam.
It’s at the end of the film when Erikson is possibly in San Francisco that he see’s a woman on the bus who looks similar to the Vietnamese woman. He jumps off and gives her a scarf she has forgotten, Erikson shouts her name as she thanks him, turns round and asks him if he has had a bad dream, he agrees, then tells him ‘well I think it’s over now’. Who knew that the repercussions would last tell the present day.