The Vietnam War was a nightmare for many soldiers. It re-defined the meaning of war to an entire generation. As the conflict grew it became known around the world that this was a war that could not be won. After this was realized by America the main focus became to "get out" instead of "getting a victory". In the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, directed by Randall Wallace, a true account of the first major battle in Vietnam is given. At the beginning of the film he introduces to us many of the soldiers and their families. This is a very smart technique, because it ensures that the audience not only will care about each one, but also tell them apart. Wallace exemplifies two very fundamental concepts that show up throughout this film. One shows the best of worst of humanity by illustrating to us that war is a tool for the powerful and that just because someone is your enemy does not make them evil. He also portrays both Vietcong and American soldiers in a manner that is correlative. Even though they were fighting each other for different reasons and dying for different countries, both sides were human and their deaths brought grief and sadness to someone.
Early in the movie Mel Gibson, who plays Lt. Col. Hal Moore, is portrayed more as a husband and father than as a soldier. His wife Julie (played by Madeline Stowe) displays much support and respect for her husband and his job. Many other women were also introduced at the start of the film and later we learned who their husbands were. There were many small scenes during this segment of the movie that were both intriguing and gave an idealistic sense of realism to the film. One such scene is when Cecil Moore(played by Sloam Momsen), Moore's youngest daughter, asks her father "What is a War?" At that moment Moore tries for a few seconds to come up with the simplest answer, but when he realizes that it is not that simple he just tells her what it actually is. Another scene which dramatizes the realism of racism during that time is when Alma Givens, played by Simbi Khali(a native of Mississippi), explains to one of the wives that her husband gives respect only to those who earned it and nothing not even racism can take that away from him. Another interesting aspect about this film is that Hal Moore took the leading role in being a father-like figure to all his troops when they went i...
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...are portrayed as being evil monsters who are less human and more demon. This is not so in We Were Soldiers. The Vietcong are seen as humans who take orders, just like the Americans. There is one scene were a Vietcong soldier is reading a letter from his wife. This scene is really what demonstrates the similarities between the two sides. In the end the girl is shown reading a letter from her nations army about the death of her husband.
A little theatrical at times, but We Were Soldiers is a great movie to see, which gives honor to the men who gave their lives in what turned out to be a divisive and politically driven war. We Were Soldiers is considerably graphic at times and is not recommended for children or sensitive adults. Basically if you have seen movies like Saving Private Ryan, Resident Evil, and Starship Troopers and they did not bother you, then you can watch this film. This film does not want the audience to walk away feeling good either. However, it challenges us to face up to a period in the past that many would relatively forget, and out of that horror we need to develop a renewed respect for the duty-bound men who lived the nightmare called the Vietnam War.
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