This is one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. It is a war movie that goes so far beyond war itself that Vietnam almost seems an afterthought. This DVD does not showcase an specific battle or heroic stand, nor does it document any significant persons or events in the war.
Rather, the approach of this story is far more basic: what is the relationship between men & women during wartime? Is it different than during peace? What if the woman in question is suspected of being the enemy? What is the typical response of the military hierarchy to an alleged crime? What can be done to minimize the opportunities of military units abusing their power and control? (After all, armies are frequently misogynistic to begin with).
Michael J. Fox belongs in a war movie just about as much as Winnie the Pooh is at home in an action movie. However, it is for this very reason that Fox is perfect in this film. This is not a plot that tells of manly men doing manly wartime things. Fox' character is an average-Joe human who is mainly consumed with the notion of getting back home in one piece as opposed to being shipped back in a body bag.
On a patrol, his detail (led by the masterful actor Sean Penn) decides to kidnap a Vietnamese girl whom they believe to be VC. They use this premise (misguided or not) to justify their having their way w/her while Fox and the viewer watch helplessly.
This is one of the most poignant war movies you will ever see. The issue it addresses is very relevant despite being distasteful. I cringe to think that the episode depicted was hardly an isolated case, whether it be a crime inflicted by the US military or any other standing army in the history of warfare.
In sum, this is a jolting reminder to us that warfare and ethics are inherently unhappy bedfellows. What happens in the field should NOT stay in the field.