Year of Release: 1989
Director: Brian De Palma
Approx. Running Time: 114 minutes
My Rating: 4 stars (Out of 5)
From Back Cover:
Hailed by critics as a masterpiece, Casualties Of War is based on the true story of a squad of soldiers caught in the moral quagmire of wartime Vietnam. Witness to a vile crime, Private Eriksson (Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future) is forced to stand alone against his fellow soldiers and commanding officer Sergeant Meserve (Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking), a powerful and charismatic man pushed over the edge of barbarism by the terror and brutality of combat. With sweeping scope, action and raw power, mast filmmaker Brian DePalma (The Untouchables) creates a devastating and unforgettable tale of one man's quest for sanity and justice amidst the chaos of war.
This movie probably deserves a 5 Star rating, but it is one of those films that I just can't watch all the time. The cast is phenomenal (especially the charismatic Sean Penn as Sgt Meserve) and the story is well told, but I get a sick feeling every time I see it. It is at once deeply moving and horribly disturbing.
Everybody knows that "war is hell" but this movie shows how it can turn ordinary men into demons - how they can lose any sense of humanity and justice and commit unspeakable acts of cruelty and evil. Based on true events during the Vietnam war, Casualties Of War centers around a group of soldiers who kidnap, rape, and ultimately murder a young Vietnamese woman. Among these men, only one refuses to participate in the vile acts of his fellow soldiers, putting himself in great danger as he first tries to save the woman, then - failing that - seeks to bring her killers to justice.
Rated R (MPAA)