Born on the Fourth of July

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  • Topic: Born on the Fourth of July, Willem Dafoe, Platoon
  • Pages : 2 (499 words )
  • Download(s) : 170
  • Published : August 8, 2008
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Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July an adaptation of the memoir by Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. Tom Cruise , in a role that was a brave departure for him in 1989, plays Kovic in his adult years. Kovic grows up as a child of the American dream in 1950s Long Island. He’s a God-fearing, baseball-hitting, patriotic man who lives in an environment full of parades and malt shops. As a high school senior, young Ron doesn’t think twice about signing up for the Marines, believing that he’s doing the right thing for his country.

He does two tours of duty in Vietnam, a time that changes everything. He mistakenly guns down a Vietnamese family, and then minutes later, he accidentally kills a fellow soldier. Further into the film Kovic’s mental torment becomes heavier when he gets shot in battle, leaving him paralyzed.

After a lengthy stay at an understaffed and filthy VA hospital, Kovic returns home to find the environment has changed. Where’s the red scare everyone was talking about? What happened to the American dream that he pursued? “I don’t feel like myself anymore,” he tells a childhood friend. Kovic starts drinking, rejects God and his family, and wastes time whoring and boozing with other vets in Mexico, where he officially hits rock bottom before making amends with his recent past.

Kovic’s story should be riveting on its own, as he is a young man who realizes a little too late that his whole life has been a sham. Stone, who co-wrote the movie with Kovic, is not content to let Kovic’s life speak for itself. Born on the Fourth of July is a mish-mash of extreme close-ups, slow motion photography, and heavy-handed imagery and sound effects. The result: Kovic’s story gets muffled in throughout the movie zapping any emotion and personal touch from the material. It’s tough to distinguish the subject from Stone’s attempt to wow us with bleached out shots and sound symbolism. John Williams’ saccharine score serves only to turn Kovic into more of a stylistic...
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