Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Born on the Fourth of July(1989)


Stars:Tom Cruise,Caroline Kava,Raymond J. Barry

War movies always have two sides to portray the glory at the end of the war or the pain and suffering coz of the war.Born on the Fourth of July showcases the latter is an adaptation of Ron Kovic's biography.

Ron Kovic(Tom Cruise) a high achiever through out life gets to attend a Marine recruitment lecture in his college and instantly decides to sign in along with his few friends.The boy is a star for his family specially his highly religious mother Mrs.Kovic(Caroline Kava).The Vietnam war starts and Ron gets to go to the front.On his second trip to the Vietnam , this time as a Sargent Ron and his company encounter a village on patrol and massacre the population misjudging them as the enemy.The incident has deep effect on Ron and even before he is able to recapture his thoughts his platoon comes under heavy fire from the enemy and in the haste Ron shoots one of his company man.A few days later on another rigorous and dangerous patrol his company again comes under fire and Ron gets shot.He is paralyzed chest down and losses his ability to walk and have children forever.

In the hospital the inhuman treatment given to the war soldiers starts to creep into his head and he starts disbeliving in the war but still has a strong belief in it.Slowly his physical condition starts to break him down and his mental state starts to deteriorate.He starts loosing faith in what the government is proposing and telling starts believing in war as a big lie.He suffers from post traumatic stress and is not able to get a hang of his life.He moves to Mexico to find some solace but the ghost of the war doesn't leaves him .Finally he comes back goes and pays a visit to the family of the marine he shot in the war.The confession relieves a heavy weight off him and he decided to join anti war protesters.He gets his voice heard through his book on his experiences in Vietnam.

War one of the biggest evils created by men leaves a country torn ,men dead and a lot of men as living a dead life after it.Born on the Fourth of July is very near to reality and that's the USP of the movie.The poignant life struggle of Ron Kovic reminds us of what a war can do ,not materialistically but emotionally.How a war not only affects the soldier but everybody and everything around him.

Tom Cruise as the wheelchair struck Ron Kovic gives a splendid performance.His transition from a boy to war veteran to the highly disillusioned and wrenched man is not only heartfelt but the way it closes the gap between reel and real life is brilliant.This by far is the best performance by Tom Cruise.The supporting cast was good too but the movie centered around Ron Kovic's journey.One of the supporting character and actor that stands out for me was Willem Dafoe as Charlie another Vietnam Veteran whom Ron meets in Mexico.

The screenplay and direction by Oliver Stone is awesome.The Vietnam scenes I felt were brilliantly shot ,especially the initial scene where it really looks like a war zone with near zero visibility and sand all around in the air.I feel that Oliver is able to touch upon the real pain of a soldier after he returns which generally most of the war movies loose out on or may be which is not the part of most.

The pain a soldier goes through can only be imagined and this movie shows a glimpse of the realty.I was moved not by what happened in Vietnam but imagining what happens each day in every part of the world where every moment someone's life is torn apart by the bloody war.

Watch it for Tom Cruise brilliant portrayal of Ron Kovic ,Oliver Stone's direction and to feel the living hell war creates for our soldiers if you are still sleeping on the glory side of it.

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