Analysis of Platoon

Essay by eshayes12College, UndergraduateB+, March 2010

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Rhetorical Analysis of "Platoon"

A Vietnam veteran in Oliver Stone directed the movie Platoon. His first-hand experience of the war allowed him to tell a different story then most war movies. The result was a masterfully crafted vision that offers an intimate look at the lives of the soldiers involved in the conflict. Oliver Stone uses many different techniques to tell his story, which I believe is an anti-war message that illustrates that the lives of the soldiers' are more important than the purpose of the war. Stone's use of a character narrator, filming style and storyline provides the viewer the ability to empathize with the soldiers.

Private Chris Taylor a naïve young man from an affluent family who decided to abandon college and voluntarily enlist in the Army is narrating the story. Upon his arrival, Private Taylor enters a very new world then what he is not used to.

It is dusty, hot, and scary. The look in his eyes gives the impression that he knows he has just arrived in hell. As Taylor is walking through the base, he passes some seasoned soldiers who begin to antagonize him for being a newbie. At the end of the group was a soldier with a disheveled appearance that gives the impression that he has been beating down by the mental and physical stress of war. Stone uses him to foreshadow what Taylor will be like upon his departure from Vietnam.

Taylor's transformation throughout the movie comes from the experiences he has gone through in the jungle of Vietnam. The use of this character as a first person narrator brought validity to the movie. Since he was part of the fighting it is easier for the viewer to accept his message compared to a third party narrator telling the story later.