A brutal account of Vietnam atrocity that will, despite the film's flaws, will tie your stomach in knots. What makes "Casualities of War" particularly gripping is that it was based on a true story (see the book by Daniel Lang), which does much to disrupt the stereotypical American "Good Guy" John Wayne ideal, casting the Vietnamese in an innocent victim light. Both Fox and Penn deliver excellent, believable performances (arguably the best of Fox's mainly comedic career thus far) in their "Good Cop/Bad Cop" roles. The violence of the film is harsh and unapologetic, particularly the rape scene, which is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and bile to your throat. However, it isn't gratuitous violence; every harsh scene in the film serves it's purpose well in a realistic depiction of the confusion and corruption that existed during the Vietnam War.
Not a film to be missed, regardless of how unsettling. Fox's struggle between loyalty to his platoon versus loyalty to his morals puts an grave spin on the idea of "peer pressure" and you will find yourself applauding - and perhaps a bit inspired by - his determination to go against the grain.
Plus, in a cinematic world filled with one-dimensional perspectives on Vietnam, it never hurts to hear the Other Side of the Story. I'm not being unpatriotic; the fact remains, however, that American soldiers committed just as many atrocities as the VC did during the War (think My Lai). People are, unfortunately, a bit too reluctant to bring them to light.