I was given the opportunity to read Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried and relate it to the movie Platoon. Both the novel and the movie demonstrated how the men behaved and reacted to the gruesome effects of war and even when the war was over how those emotions and memories stayed with them for the rest of their lives. Both the author and director used methods of interpreting a story by fusing universal truths and sorrow together to bring about a better understanding of the characters and the upsetting events that took place.
The movie Platoon starts off with a young man, Chris Taylor, who allegedly dropped out of Yale and enlisted into the army. Unlike the novel The Things They Carried, where Tim O’Brien was drafted and had no say in the matter. Chris was played by actor Charlie Sheen and was the main narrator of the film; everything was told and seen basically from his outlook. The movie’s focus was on the combat and life of a platoon; it showed the everyday lifestyle of the soldiers and how they lived of the land and dealt with difficult situations – death was the most common. The other members of the platoon consisted of Barnes played by Tom Berenger; Elias played by William Dafoe, and also included minor actors such as Johnny Depp, Forrest Whitaker, and Kevin Dillon who didn’t have much of a role in the movie. The two sergeants, Barnes and Elias, were both leaders but had a different style when it came to leading the platoon. Their differences caused a war amongst the men and provided numerous plot twists, to include their own deaths. Barnes (Berenger) was the rigid and extreme soldier who would stop at absolutely nothing to achieve victory and Elias (Dafoe) was the more devoted and considerate leader who tried to make decisions that best suited his platoon. Their differences would cause a division between them and ultimately a division between the platoons. The movie had a few battle scenes but not much, the war really wasn’t with Vietnam...
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