Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Born On The Fourth Of July

Born on the Fourth of July is a 1989 American film adaptation of the best selling autobiography of the same name by Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic. Tom Cruise plays Kovic, in a performance that earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Oliver Stone (also a Vietnam veteran) co-wrote the screenplay with Kovic, and also produced and directed the film. Stone wanted to film the movie in Vietnam, but because relations between the United States and Vietnam had not yet been normalised, it was instead filmed in the Philippines.

The film shows that once he is overseas his "gung-ho enthusiasm" and patriotism turns to horror and confusion when he accidentally kills one of his own men in a firefight. His downfall is furthered by a bullet wound that leaves him paralyzed from the chest down. He returns home, spends an appalling, nightmarish stint in a veterans' hospital, and follows an increasingly disillusioned and fragmented path that ultimately leaves him drunk and dissolute in Mexico. However, Kovic somehow turns himself around and pulls his life together, becoming an outspoken anti-war activist in the process. The film is long but emotionally powerful; many consider it Stone's best work.

The reviews of the film received many positive reactions and even today on Rotten Tomatoes the film holds a score 89% of positive reviews by critics. Many critics also praised Tom Cruise's performance and Oliver Stone's direction of the film. Stone would later be awarded with an Oscar and a Golden Globe for directing while Tom Cruise received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.

The Vietnam War was the first war the was hugely televised globally and its portrayal in the media was the first of it's kind in raising angst against a military mission abroad in the USA. These feeling continue today with the Vietnam war and more recently the troops in Afghanistan.

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