'Casualties of War (Extended Cut)'
(Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, et al / DVD / R / (1989) 2006 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: Based on a true story, this Brian De Palma film casts Michael J. Fox as a soldier in Vietnam in a squad led by Sean Penn. While on patrol, in the wake of an ambush that has left friends dead, they kidnap and rape a Vietnamese woman - then murder her. But Fox, one of the soldiers who refused to participate in the rape, is so appalled by the killing that he reports it - and finds himself being treated as the villain.
DVD Verdict: A patrol of young soldiers, boys, who have become hardened men in just the few weeks they have been "in country" during the Vietnam war, take their roles as American soldiers too far. Much too far. They have kidnapped, raped and murdered a young Vietnamese woman after dragging her out of her hut in the middle of the night. All but one, have it in their heads, that it makes no difference, they are probably just seconds away from becoming a war casualty themselves. Taking their cue from a young, but toughened sargeant, they convince themselves for any number of reasons, that what they did, does not really matter. One Soldier, PFC Eriksson, refuses to participate in such an atrocity. Standing up to the others, and actually disobeying an order to take his turn he opens himself up to the wrath of the rest. He feels it DOES matter what you do, in possibly your last few minutes on earth, and feels it is even more important to do the right thing before you go. Forced to listen and watch as a human life is abused, then destroyed, Eriksson feels he must do something more to avenge the woman and heal himself.His guilt at not doing enough to save her is taking a toll on him. At great risk he reports this story up the chain of command. The response is no better then the soldiers involved. What does it matter now? The story is based on actual events that were first reported in the "New Yorker" magazine in the late 1960's ... Director Brian DePalma's powerful look at the brutalities of war that go beyond the battlefield is one that will stay with you for quite some time after the view. It's a hard film to watch. One that will take quite an emotional toll on you, and leave you thinking about it. The cast is immaculate in their roles. We feel what they are feeling. Michael J Fox took a big step away from his comedy roles, to make this film, and gave us an exceptional performance as the guilt ridden, emtionally drained Erikkson. Sean Penn delivers the goods as usual at his turn as the Sergeant, who is losing his grip on reality, yet is powerful enough to lead others to do wrong. Thuy Thu Le plays the victim, she perhaps digs the deepest of all. Her emotions are so raw and real, you may feel like you want to leap through your screen and save her yourself. John C Reilly, Don Harvey and John Leguizamo, turn in excellent performances as they rest of the patrol as well. The music by the illustrious Ennio Morricone brings even more of the haunting feeling to this already very emotional story. If you are looking for a war story that is all action, you should pass this one by. Although we do get a good taste of what it is like for the men on the battlefield, this is a morality play. It goes beyond the horrific loss on the field of battle. It deals with what this war did to the minds and hearts of those who survived, as well as the innocent victims of the war. The DVD is an excellent buy. All of the fabulous cinematography is presented in Widescreen 2:40.1 and is exceptional at many, many times throughout. I don't view this film very often. It just takes too much out of me. But it is one that I wouldn't ever part with and is a fine addition to the films depicitng the atrocities of the Vietnam War. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) and comes with the Special Features of:
All New Extended Cut Including Footage Added Back Into The Film
Eriksson's War: A Conversation With Michael J. Fox
The Making of 'Casualties of War'
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0)