Tafero's DVD Reviews of the Day (0175) - Born on the Fourth of July - 1989
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Tafero's DVD Reviews of the Day (0175) - Born on the Fourth of July - 1989

This is a dvd movie review of Born on the Fourth of July - 1989. This is a biopic of Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran disabled both physically and emotionally from the war in Vietnam.

0175 – Born on the Fourth of July – 1989 – Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, a disabled Vietnam veteran. Cruise is unusually understated in this film and is not his usual over the top persona. Stone keeps him well in line with the character portrayed in the movie. And Stone was quite familiar with the material since he was a Vitenam vet, himself. He was familiar with all of the contradictions of the war both at home and in Vietnam. At home, you had the liberals and hippies who were against anything that had to do with the military or national defense. It didn’t make any difference if you honestly believed you should serve your country; you were considered a sucker. The conservatives, on the other hand, were against liberals and hippies because of their life-styles, haircuts and loose sexual mores. Sometimes the two groups actually even thought about the politics behind each other’s causes and were opposed for those reasons. In Vietnam, troops were divided as well. Most were against the war, but some thought they were doing the right thing for the right reasons and that was the real tragedy of the war. Kovic was one of those who believed he was doing the right thing.

The film deftly traces the evolution of Ron Kovic’s young life before entering the service. We are shown Fourth of July parades in Long Island that glorify past wars and veterans. Then he hears the famous Kennedy line “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” Kovic admires these men and wants to be like them. The clincher is when a Marine recruiter gives an impassioned speech at his high school about the Corps. Then Kovic, in a patriotic frenzy, enlists and gets his chance to be like his heroes by going to Vietnam. We fast-forward to Kovic’s second tour of duty (as if one were not enough), where he accidently shoots and kills a new member of the unit. Everyone tells him to just forget about it, but he can’t. His guilt leads him to be reckless and he receives a critical wound that permanently disables him. I will not reveal the end of the film, but suffice it to say that it hits close to home because I am a Vietnam vet myself. Stone gets it right (unlike his JFK debacle) in this one. Recommended

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