(1989)

Even in war … murder is murder.

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.

_**Beautiful and brutal, artistic and ugly**_
Based on a true story, the arrogant sergeant (Sean Penn) of a 5-man squad on a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam in November, 1966, decides to kidnap a Vietnamese farm girl for some “portable R&R” because it would be "good for the morale of the squad." But PFC Eriksson (Michael J. Fox) refuses to participate and fears being “killed In Action” for dissenting.
“Casualties of War” (1989) separates itself from other Vietnam War movies by focusing on the incident at hand, including the build-up and aftermath. Its uniqueness is augmented by Brian De Palma’s slightly off-kilter style. The picture balances the beauty of the location and the artistry of Brian De Palma's filmmaking with the horror and ugliness of war & rape.
It's also realistic and compelling while simultaneously being mundane, which is why some viewers might find it boring. In other words, this is more of a gut-wrenching war drama with some action than a typical war flick with explosions and action thrills galore. It fairly closely follows the real story; Google Incident on Hill 192 for details.
The movie runs 1 hour, 59 minutes, with the original Theatrical Cut being 6 minutes shorter. It was shot in Phang Nga, Kanchanaburi & Phuket, Thailand, and Dolores Park, San Francisco, California.
GRADE: A-/B+

Columbia Pictures by Brian De Palma, Daniel Lang, David Rabe.
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey.

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

Keywords: rape menace vietnam war vietcong court based on a true story jungle soldier anti war

08/18/1989

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