Analysis of Platoon

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In the movie Platoon, the author, Oliver Stone, tells us a story about an American soldier in Vietnam during the war. The story is mostly based on his own experience when he went there. Even though the story is fictional, he keeps it really realistic and the more close possible to what was reality in Vietnam. He shows how that war was hell for the soldiers we sent there and also for the local population. Oliver Stone produced Platoon to show his disapproval of the war in Vietnam, because that war harmed the American soldiers that went there and also the population that they were supposed to protect. To deliver his political message, Stone used different elements of a movie like the structure of the plot, cinematic techniques and characters. My analysis of this movie and its political message will be focused on its characters, mainly the arc of the protagonist, Private Chris Taylor, through his interactions during different scenes with his two sergeants, Sgt. Elias and Sgt. Barnes. They both influenced him and we can figure out that Barnes represents the devil while Elias represents the Christ. During the movie, both will battle for Chris’ soul.

In the first scene, we see Private Chris Taylor arrival in Vietnam for his tour of duty in the war there in 1967. He gets sand in his eyes, a metaphor showing his innocence and how he is naïve at the start of the movie. After that, he sees some guys that are going back home after they had completed their one year tour of duty in Vietnam. He crosses them and he looks at them and they look at him. These guys are not innocent and naïve like they were before war, they lost it in Vietnam, and it allows us to foresee that it is going to happen to Chris.

In another scene, we see Chris and his platoon walk in the Vietnamese jungle and we notice that Chris has some difficulties because he is sweating, tripping and he has some troubles with his badly packed rucksack. His first interaction with Sgt. Barnes happens when he freezes a while because he sees a dead body. Barnes tells him: ‘What are you waiting for? He ain't gonna bite you. Move out.’ We see Lt. Wolfe in a radio conversation and then we see Chris on the ground coughing and almost vomiting. Barnes then tells him: ‘What the hell's the matter with you Taylor! You a sorry ass motherfucker.’ Chris struggle to remove red ants on his neck while Barnes go away and then ‘Doc’ goes help him with Sgt. Elias. The latter one gives him advice on packing his bag and offers him help. That scene offers us a first preview of who the two sergeants are. Barnes is a hard-ass and he doesn’t care about the dead body Chris saw, because he is used to death since he is like a devil. In opposition, Elias is a good guy and he helps Chris even though he doesn’t know him yet, like the Christ helped needy peoples. That scene shows that Chris really is a newbie that doesn’t know anything about that war. We also see that Chris admires Barnes because he thinks that a tough man like that can lead them to victory.

In the scene inside Elias’ bunker, Chris is brought in by King and this is a whole new world for him. Peoples there, the ‘head’, are anti-war marijuana smokers. Rhah asks Cris: ‘Whatcha doing in the underworld Taylor?’ and King answers: ‘This ain’t Taylor! Taylor been shot! This man Chris been resurrected!’ King says so because Barnes and his supporters call Chris ‘Taylor’, therefore, ‘Taylor’ represents the side of Chris that is bad like Barnes while ‘Chris’ is his side that is influenced by Elias and the ‘head’. After that, Rhah hands Chris a three foot long pipe and he smokes pot for the first time from it. He coughs a lot and everybody laugh. Elias stands up and gives a shot to Chris through the barrel of a shotgun. Chris takes it and does not cough that time. I think that Chris putting Elias’ shotgun in his mouth shows that Chris now trusts Elias.

In the village scene, the soldiers come really mad into a little village because they just...
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