Born on the 4th of July – Movie Review Example
Review/Summary of the movie "Born on the 4th of July" The film Born on the 4th of July (1989), by the renowned director Oliver Stone is interconnected with the war history and the relationship between America and Vietnam. The director adopted the autobiography of Ron Kovic, an individual who did participate in Vietnam War. The director makes use of Ron Kovic, the protagonist as his mouthpiece to communicate with the viewers. To be specific, the film represents the anti-war sentiment, futility of war, physical, emotional and mental trauma faced by the soldiers. Thesis statement: The film Born on the 4th of July by Oliver Stone deals with the aftereffects of American involvement in Asia and the mental and emotional trauma faced by the veterans. (Special references to the protagonist Ron Kovic and the problems faced by him during and after his involvement in the Vietnam War).
Brief plot summary:
The film focuses upon the protagonist’s life during and after the Vietnam War. As a normal individual, his life was with full of peace and happiness. But his involvement in Vietnam War undertaken by his motherland (America) forced him to be in the warfront. Meanwhile, he did realize the problems faced by the marines during war. During an attack, Ron Kovic became permanently paralyzed and it forced him to shrink into his personal domain. This alienation from his public domain and family helped him to realize the futility of war and the importance of international peace. So, he decided to react and was fully immersed in the propaganda against war.
One can easily identify that the film is based upon the life history of the Vietnam War veteran, Ron Kovic. The director tries to unveil the futility of war, the psychological trauma created by war and the need of international cooperation to regain peace. The director makes use of the protagonist as an innovative tool to unleash his ideas upon the futility of war. The director gives ample importance to the protagonist’s life after his participation in the Vietnam War. In the initial stages, Ron considered war as an opportunity to display his patriotism. Besides, he was totally inspired by John F. Kennedy’s speech and decides to join the Marine Corps. Then the director leads the viewers to Ron’s role in Vietnam War. In Vietnam, Ron accidentally shoots one of his troopers. Later, during the war, Ron was severely injured and partially paralyzed. The treatment at the hospital was not so helpful for Ron and he was forced to give up his patriotic dreams. When Ron returned to his home, he came to realize that the attitude of his family members and friends underwent rapid change. Besides, Ron’s brother Tommy was totally against wars. His mother was religious, but was not able to find an apt solution for Ron’s problems. Ron’s family members changed their attitude towards him because he used to react in a different way. When Ron began to curse the god, his mother changed her attitude towards him. From the beginning, Ron’s brother was against war and he did not like his brother’s patriotic ideas on war. When Ron became the victim of war, his brother utilized that chance to criticize him. Ron’s old friend Timmy Burns, who faced the same problems, influenced him a lot. Gradually, Ron began to consider that life is worthless and got deeply immersed in immoral activities. In the end, Ron decided to join Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and to work for the wellbeing of humanity. One can easily identify that Ron’s attitude towards war underwent gradual change because he was one of the victims of the negative effects of war. Besides, his guilty consciousness originated from the accidental death of his fellow trooper, attitude of his family and friends, alienation from the mainstream society and helplessness forced him to change his attitude towards wars. When the protagonist returned back to his motherland as a paralyzed person, he felt that he became alienated in his society. In short, his inactiveness forced him to think that war is the reason behind his paralysis and mental trauma.
The protagonist’s status as a marine who did participate in the Vietnam War became unimportant because he was partially paralyzed. This inactiveness, originating from physical inability, forced him to undergo emotional and mental problems. So, the protagonist’s actions can be considered as his individual attempt to escape from his personal problems. He very well knew that his future life must be dedicated for the wellbeing of mankind. In short, the director’s aim was not so far from the protagonist’s aim to spread the message of peace.
In the film, the history of American influence in Asia, especially in Vietnam War is closely observed and portrayed by the director. Emmett Early makes clear that “Born on the fourth of July was released in 1989 and is another example of the triptych concept of spanning the Vietnam War” (32). The film’s outer surface gives importance to the protagonist’s life before the war, during the war and after the war in Vietnam. For instance, the opening of the film portrays the protagonist as a normal individual who was inspired by patriotism. Gradually, the director shifts his attention towards the atrocities faced by the American Marines during the Vietnam War. Later, the director gives ample importance to the psychological trauma and alienation faced by the protagonist in his family and society. So, one can easily identify that the film’s surface is related to the life of the protagonist. But when one tries to explore the film from a different angle of view, the historical components will be become revealed. For instance, the film represents the history of Vietnam War through the perspective of a veteran. Besides, this film unveils the after effects of Vietnam War and the scope of universal brotherhood for a brighter future.
Summing, the film Born on the 4th of July by Oliver Stone can be considered as an eye opener which can force the world nations to reconsider their decisions upon wars. The film portrays the life history of Ron Kovic, and his attempt to escape from idleness and inactivity. Besides, the film represents the history of wars and its aftereffects upon mankind. In short, the film presents the director’s views on wars and the scope of world peace without wars and bloodshed.
Early, Emmett. The war veteran in film. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003. Print.