Charlie Sheen stars in Platoon as Chris Taylor, a privileged college dropout who joins the United States Army in the late 60’s to fight in the Vietnam conflict. As the physical demands of combat are stressful, he immediately draws the ire of his fellow soldiers after he is wrongly blamed for falling asleep on watch duty when members of the Vietcong attack the platoon. Adjusting to life as a soldier, Chris is drawn to Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe) who guides Chris through the ropes of battle as well as welcomes him to the army base parties fueled with drugs and groovin’ music. On the other hand, Chris develops a strong disdain for Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) who is more of a ruthless mercenary than an honorable soldier. After Chris’s platoon brutally attacks a village of suspected Vietcong supporters where he witness the rapes and murders of villagers, he seriously begins to question his involvement with the military as the effects of war run their course on the entire platoon.
Loosely based on the experiences in Vietnam of writer and director Oliver Stone, Platoon is a gritty and blunt portrait of the effects of war on an individual. Disturbing, moving, and explosive – Platoon is an unrelenting assault of the senses. Charlie Sheen is fantastic in this lead role as he depicts vulnerable innocence damaged, which begs one to curse his choice of roles afterward (barring a few exceptions) and reckless demeanor in recent memory. An ensemble cast which also includes Johnny Depp, Kevin Dillon and Forest Whitaker rounds out a set of strong performances from both Dafoe and Berenger as well. Well deserving of its Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, Platoon is an eye popping and arresting portrait of war, excellently executed by Oliver Stone.