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Casualties of War (Bilingual)

Michael J. Fox , Sean Penn , Brian De Palma    DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Casualties of War (Bilingual) + Born On The Fourth Of July (Special Edition) (Bilingual)
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Product Details

Product Description


Based on a true story, this Brian De Palma film casts Michael J. Fox as a soldier in Vietnam in a squad led by Sean Penn. While on patrol, in the wake of an ambush that has left friends dead, they kidnap and rape a Vietnamese woman--then murder her. But Fox, one of the soldiers who refused to participate in the rape, is so appalled by the killing that he reports it--and finds himself being treated as the villain. Penn is scarily tough as the vindictive soldier and De Palma does a solid job of re-creating the crime, making it a thing of horror. Yet this film never quite connects, despite a strong performance by Fox and a supporting cast that includes John C. Reilly and John Leguizamo. --Marshall Fine

Product Description

Victimes du Vietnam (Casualties of War) est un film américain réalisé par Brian De Palma, sorti en 1989...En 1966, au Vietnam. Pour Meserve et ses hommes, la mort, le sang et les embuscades sont devenus un brutal quotidien. Leur seul but est d'essayer de survivre, d'avoir la force de se prendre pour des héros. À la veille d'une opération de reconnaissance, ils décident d'emmener avec eux une jeune villageoise pour leur servir de repos du guerrier.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond the war March 31 2004
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and intense... May 23 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Casualties of War" is a Masterpiece April 22 2003
By Timotee
This is the best war movie ever made. "Casualties of War" is an amazing accomplishment by director Brian De Palma. The story of a soldier (Michael J. Fox) who reports his squad for the rape and murder of a Vietnamese woman during Vietnam. He lives in fear and is assumed the enemy for not participating in the heinous acts. The squad leader (Sean Penn) has no moral conscious and his ego gets the best of him. Ving Rhames gave a speech about justice and was extremely right on. You can't beat the system, but when it's to do the right thing, then you must try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fox and war May 28 2004
A wonderful DVD, the beginning was a little droll but the movie picked up considerably in the middle. The language is rough, the graphics can get gory, but altogether it is a heartbreaking film. Vietnam at its worst.
Michael J. Fox played his part,(as always) to the max, and Sean Penn was not far behind for the evil and crazy leader of the band.
Altogether, it's a movie anyone should watch. If not for the truth and final showdown between Fox, and his enemies, but for the wonderful acting and storyline.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true story told with flaws March 18 2004
Casualties of War, despites some of its flaws, is quite faithful to the original text which was a true story. Not many people realize that "Sven Eriksson" is a real person who actually experienced much of what Michael J. Fox's character went through in the movie.
But does it work as a movie? For the most part, yes. The two glaring problems with Casualties is the ending and some of the soundtrack music which DePalma uses to excess.
The ending, as it's explained within the DVD extras, is purposely presented as uplifting. We see Eriksson on a San Francisco BART train awaking from his bad dream/memories. He sees a girl who could be the one who was murdered and raped in Vietnam. He calls out the Vietnamese girl's name. The woman responds that he must have had a bad dream, but it's all over now. And then we get the "uplifting" music that rises to a crescendo.
Upon viewing the movie for a second time this ending is particularly bad. DePalma argues in the DVD extras that this positive ending was meant as a way to give the audience some relief. However, it's so hammy that it belittles the true story that precedes it. It's all a dream, it's all over, everything is now OK. But everything is not OK and everything is not over.
Which brings me to the one thing that this DVD should have offered - more information about the true story behind the movie. Why not go to Vietnam and show where the incidents actually took place? "Eriksson" is actually a pseudonym of the real man who has apparently been in hiding due to death threats from the men he helped put in prison. How about some more information about where these men are today?
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Great movie! The service was on time & excellent!
Published 2 months ago by Susan Cleveland
4.0 out of 5 stars The Rest of the Story
I know the soldier on whom the character of Sven was based, and the incident portrayed in the movie impacted his life in a major way. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by Bunny
3.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, but not a classic
I just bought the DVD because it was on sale and had not watched the movie in years. It is an okay movie. Read more
Published on March 8 2004 by s2h131985
2.0 out of 5 stars Casualty of Brian De Palma
CASUALTIES OF WAR is one of many Vietnam War movies that came out in the late 80's as a result of the success of PLATOON. Unfortunately, it is one of the weakest. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Brian De Palma lives up to his promise....
This is easily the most true-to-life of all the Vietnam war movies. Much more believable than "Platoon", which relegated many of its characters to cartoonish caricatures, such as... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004 by Photoscribe
1.0 out of 5 stars It Sucked
This movie stinks. It was so bad that I hope I never have to watch it again for the rest of my life.
Published on Nov. 2 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing war movie packs an emotional wallop
CASUALTIES OF WAR (USA 1989): During a routine field trip at the height of the Vietnam War, a young soldier (Michael J. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2003 by Libretio
4.0 out of 5 stars War
I think that stories like this happenes in the time of War .
The only think is that we did not enjoy this moivie is that
you can tell that Penn is acting especially... Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by Matthew Paul Tanti Binett
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Must Be Seen
Director Brian DePalma explained during the excellent "Marking Of" feature that he had wanted to make this film for nearly two decades. Read more
Published on March 8 2003 by Joseph E. Loudon
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