"Born On The Fourth Of July" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 01/14/12
A biopic based on the life of Ron Kovic, an idealistic poster boy for the American dream who volunteered for Vietnam only to return home to a different world both traumatized and paralysed. I've never been a big fan of Tom Cruise, but he gives the performance of his career as the Vietnam vet who became the spokesman of a disenfranchised generation. Being based upon Kovic's own book the film is a very personal journey and as such is a little episodic, often resembling one of those "triumph of courage" daytime telemovies rather than the overt politicism of many of Stone's other films of the time. It also limits his Vietnam experiences to the bare minimum which means that it lacks both the context and outright anger of Salvador and the emotional drama of Platoon leaving something of a half way house between the two. The supporting cast also don't get much of a look in so it feels a little superficial but it is an intelligent, well made film carried by a strong central performance. It does lack the power of Stone's best work however.