Monday, May 27, 2013
Vietnam War Through Film
Through Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill, and Platoon, we have been shown three different portrayals of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam war was a war between the north Vietnamese communists who were supported by china and the south Vietnamese the All three movies choose to show Vietnam in its own way. The Vietnam war was one of the most unsupported wars in us history. The war was also happening during the civil rights movement. All three movies addressed race, relationships between solders, and relationship to the enemy while trying to be historically accurate, all in their own way.
The first movie we watched was Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. The first thing you notice about the movie is there is no real main character or “good guy”. The main character in this movie is the group of guys that you follow throughout the movie. Like a main character the group as a whole grows together. They become a well-oiled machine by the end of their boot camp stay, weeding out any weak links like sergeant Pyle. Kubrick is the only one of the three to show the boot camp side of the war. Kubrick shows that to be a marine you have to change your entire lifestyle and to change who you are as a person. “The film creates a very disturbing and "real" picture of the Vietnam War not through historical accuracy or sensitive treatment of characters, but by presenting a compilation of situations that spanned an entire war as if they were the experiences of one set of recruits.”(Zane Phipps). This story is mostly fiction and is stylized to prove a point not to make a historically accurate film, although the boot camp scenes in the first half of the movie are very accurate. The actor who played the boot camp sergeant was a former military drill sergeant. Of the three movies Full Metal Jacket does the least to talk about race relations during this time. Most of the race relations shown are the relation ship between the soldiers and the Vietnamese civilians.
The second movie we saw in this unit was John Irvin’s Hamburger Hill. The film Hamburger Hill is foremost based on a historical event, namely one squad’s battle for Hill 937 in the A Shau Valley of Vietnam from May 11- 20, 1969.. There is an array of main characters but non that you feel attached too. It seems like the director was not trying to make a box office hit like Platoon, but Irvin was trying to make one of the most historically accurate Vietnam movies ever made. Many people believe that it is the most accurate Vietnam movie ever made. Hamburger hill was the movie that showed race relations the most between the soldiers. While the other movies in this section have some race relations in them hamburger hill does the most and it’s a big theme throughout the film “The film is the only American Vietnam War film that looks at race and prejudice issues head on.”(top 10) the film does such a good job that its rated in the TOP 10 AMERICAN FILMS ABOUT RACE AND PREJUDICE. Although this film has such high praise about its historical accuracy and race relations, I feel a slight disconnect from the film. The film didn’t pull me in or make me want more of it. I think by making it so historically accurate and the lack of good cinematography it lost its entertainment factor and the emotion of being in the Vietnam war. As I said before many critics rate “Hamburger Hill higher than Platoon and