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You can skip movies 10 times but never go back.
During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager. Based on the actual events of an incident on Hill 192 in November, 1966.
"this kinda thing could cause an international incident"
ya... unjust wars tend to do that
"Oh, God. I'm sorry."
at one point the military defense attorney shouts that being a witness isn't hazardous but De Palma would beg to differ. he tantalizes us by recording the hidden tunnels, enemies in wait either hiding behind us or looking just like us, codes we can't interpret. but this is a recreation of a real evil, not the seduction of images, and some things cannot be resolved or reconstructed, and so in a way this doubles as his confession, one that forces you to watch her but makes it impossible for you to save her.
This is the fourth film in my DePalma Deep Dive.
War is hell, and Vietnam is the devil's playground. And every playground has a bully.
When I first saw CASUALTIES OF WAR many years ago, I enjoyed it. Some things bugged me about it, but I thought it was one of the better high-profile war films. On this third or fourth rewatch, this time for the purpose of studying and understanding DePalma's full body of work, I found this film to be truly astonishing. Better than I ever remembered it, and far more polished than most of his work (that I've seen). It's a lean and focused movie -- no extraneous plot strands or surprise tonal shifts, which is he…
Some may be shocked by my 5-star rating and I certainly understand why. Now I can watch the goriest films ever made and not even blink, but when you include something like rape it turns my stomach a bit. We see things from the perspective of Private Max Eriksson who's played wonderfully by Michael J. Fox. Some might say that he was miscast here, but I'd have to disagree. You can't get more innocent than Marty McFly. Naturally, people will compare it to Platoon which is only 5 percentage points ahead on the tomato meter if you care about that sort of thing.
Most war movies focus on how violence is always the worst part of war and yet here…
Based on the notorious Hill 192 Incident during the Vietnam War in 1966, De Palma's Casualties of War takes on a much more serious and difficult subject than any of his other efforts and as far as I can tell seems to be his most mature work to date. In the leads we have the then up and coming Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox in some of their best roles and rounding it up with John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo and Don Harvey we have a solid supporting cast. It's a very performance-driven film and as such it was important to have a spot-on cast for which the director evidently had a fine eye. They may not be groundbreaking…
Sean Penn playing a violent, racist, rapist seemed like a perfect piece of casting by Brian De Palma. When it comes to playing intense psychos, Penn does make it all look remarkably easy. Gangster Squad and Colors, and being married to Madonna have all shown his tendency for portraying hateful characters.
De Palma's Vietnam-set film about the incident on hill 192 is one of those films that you wish was a piece of fiction. Vietnam was a cesspit, chaos in everything but name, where some young men lost more than just their lives. They have said countless times that humanity and innocence quickly disappear in a war-zone and that's the story here. When a squad of soldiers looking for payback…
(6/8 is "Very Good")
Well performed, tragic.
One of De Palma's best.
A fucking brutal experience, and maybe one of the few war movies that seems purposefully, masterfully designed to trigger what we might call the "right" empathic responses – pity, dread, revulsion, grief.
It is difficult to rate movie that I hated so much while watching it. However in hindsight I must acknowledge the film's masterful craftsmanship. Just a couple of examples, the Viet Cong ant-farm scene, and the two split-focus scenes were we see what Michael J. Fox misses: the first as he celebrates hitting the grenade but misses VC being secreted into a tunnel, and the second where in creating a diversion gunfire to save the girl, he misses her being knifed behind him.
There were also distracting things that marred the film for me, one beyond the fault of the film, and the other baked in. First, the film’s early, poignant ambush in the rice paddy was marred by the…
Obviously I watched the documentary about De Palma and got inspired by his "making of" story to watch this ("we basically created the whole jungle set"). Although it is impossible to tell that from his previous filmography, he was actually interested in various social and historical issues back in the day and even wanted to make "Prince of the city" (which Lumet made eventually), but after various obstacles could come to this film only in the end of the 1980s. It was a time when after the huge success of Stone's "Platoon" Vietnam war movie genre resurrected, and De Palma surprisingly shows us a really ugly side of that war (and every other, I suppose) and American military. So it…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Film 81- #81: Brian De Palma
I’m very confused on what I’m supposed to think about Casualties Of War.
The story is about a gang of soldiers in Vietnam who kidnap a girl, rape her, and kill her. One soldier, who refused to rape the girl, feels he needs to do the girl justice. It was indeed an interesting premise, but the way it was portrayed was hard to understand the actions any of the characters (except for Michael J. Fox’s character, Eriksson). It is supposedly based off a true incident, so I sorta have to cut it some slack.
A friend explained that the soldiers went mad during the outcome of war. Honestly though,…
"You had a bad dream, didn't you?"
"...It's over now, I think."
Brutal. Excellent. De Palma is in total control of this material.
Not really sure how anyone could find this morally repugnant (which is the only explanation I can think of for why this isn't considered one of De Palma's best, especially since the set-pieces here are as good as any I've seen).* If anything, the film's major flaw is that it signposts its morality too strenuously. There's already a clear identification figure in Eriksson (Michael J. Fox, perfectly cast in his boyish innocence—a perfect counterpoint to Sean Penn), so the fact that the home stretch hammers the film's pov so bluntly via the Death of the Innocent, multiple declamatory speeches, and a ham-handed closing trial, does get rather irksome. (Ving Rhames as Lieutenant Reilly's oblique anecdote concerning the birth of his…
Quentin Tarantino's favorite films based on the internet pulled from multiple sources.
All the films mentioned by name in Kim Newman's definitive encyclopedia of horror films, Nightmare Movies. Well worth a read.…