Sunday, October 17, 2010

Casualties Of War (1989)

If there was ever a war film that did not glorify war this is it. Casualties Of War is less of a action movie but more of a powerful drama on human moral and the choice or lack of choice between right and wrong when put in certain situations.
Michael J. Fox steps away from the comedies he was known for at the time to play a soldier who is put in a very rough situation. His squad is led by Sean Penn who is going over the deep end due to the environment of the Vietnam war. Penn and the rest of the squad decide to get their own form of vengeance by kidnapping a Vietnamese girl. The squad take turns beating and raping the young girl until she is bruised, swollen, sick and near death. Fox refuses to take any part in the squads brutality and they turn quickly against him. Now Fox is forced to make a choice between doing what he feels is right and possibly end up being killed by his own so called men. Although he holds his ground on trying to help the girl he hesitates from fully helping her escape, for the fear of his own life. This eventually leads to the girls murder.
The script, the acting and Brian De Palma's visual eye makes Casualties a heart wrenching, emotional roller coaster. The real war here seems to be an internal battle and a bad enviorment can make a man go wrong but at the same time he has the choice to do what is right. If the soldiers of the Vietnam war felt that there was no reason for them to be there then what would keep them from doing things that are considered wrong? I guess again it comes down to morals.
The only other war movie, I can say strikes a similar emotional nerve would be Come And See. Both films are a powerful look at war and affects it can have on a person.

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