Born on the Fourth of July
Born on the Fourth of July
(Oliver Stone, 1989)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Tom Cruise's first truly great role as paralysed Vietnam vet Ron Kovic is handled brilliantly by Oliver Stone on Oscar winning form. Undeniably powerful.
Of Oliver Stone's loosely threaded Vietnam trilogy, (the others being 'Platoon' and 'Heaven and Earth'), 'Born on the Fourth of July' retains its power the most. Stone picked relative newcomer Tom Cruise at just the right point in his career, when he was an A-lister but also when he was an actor who hadn't truly proven his range (aside from his remarkable turn in 'Rain Man').
Cruise, who bagged his first Oscar nomination, is perfect as the naïve God-fearing Ron Kovic who blindly signs up to go to Vietnam. Injured and subsequently paralyzed from the waist down, Kovic sees true horror in the battlefield, but the film is more interested in the coming home.
The injured vets aren't seen as the heroes they are; instead they're cast aside as if America wants to ignore their contribution in a controversial war. The anti-war movement resents their call to arms. Cruise isn't the obvious choice to play an outsider, a man who is hated and weakened, but his work here is incredible. (Interestingly, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe, the two warring stars of 'Platoon' have small roles here again playing polar opposites in the same army)
Stone charts Kovic's disintegration towards booze and prostitutes with stark reality and a lack of pretentious audacity which marked his later work. In 'Platoon' you could feel that Stone had a tour of Vietnam. With 'Born on the Fourth of July', you know he's been trying to get over it ever since. 'Platoon' is immediate with its pain, but this cuts deeper takes us further.
Other film news
Benedict Cumberbatch is now in the frame to add the Marvel superhero universe to his already glowing CV.
According to an anonymous extra on the set of upcoming superhero epic 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice', Jena Malone has been cast as a female version of Batman's sidekick Robin.
'Desperado' filmmaker Robert Rodriguez is taking desperate measures against the financiers of most recently released movies 'Sin City 2' and 'Machete Kills'.
How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris will host the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony for the first time.
Oscar winner Christian Bale has been lined up to play Apple boss Steve Jobs in a new film penned by 'The Social Network' and 'West Wing' scribe Aaron Sorkin.
The film is "Coming in 2015" and reunites the core cast from the classic TV sitcom Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.
It's the news that David Lynch fans have been waiting decades for: 'Twin Peaks' is officially coming back.
The 'Taken' franchise has undergone a reboot of sorts. Not only does the title of the third film ('Tak3n') not make any sense, the film series has now scrapped the key kidnapping plot hook that sustained the first two pictures in favour of an innocent-man-on-the-run story instead.
Action hero and oscar nominee Liam Neeson has signed on to Seth MacFarlane's 'Ted 2', the sequel to the massive comedy hit.
While lots of casting rumours turn out to be false, this one turned out true. Joining 'True Detective' for its highly anticipated second season is 'In Bruges' Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell.
George Clooney's crowded trophy cabinet is set to see a new addition: the 'Syriana' and 'Argo' double Oscar winner is set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes at the 2015 ceremony.
'Django Unchained' co-star Daniele Watts made the headlines recently when she was pictured crying alongside a police officer having been detained. She and her partner claimed on their Facebook pages that the 'racist' LAPD assumed that she was a prostitute and he her client prompting them to demand her ID to which she refused as she deemed her right. However, the full story may have more to it...
'Avengers Assemble' star and Oscar nominated 'The Kids Are Alright' actor Mark Ruffalo has revealed that he has actively campaigned for a role in the new 'Star Wars' film - regardless of how minor the part may be.
Oscar nominated director David Fincher is teaming up with one of crime fiction's most renowned writers - David Fincher - for a new HBO series.
Oscar winning actor and producer George Clooney will direct 'Hack Attack' - a film drama about the British phone hacking scandal that targeted celebrities, politicians and royalty.
Carried to her grave in a mahogany casket by six pallbearers, Rivers was laid to rest in New York city - the place where he storied career took off.
Following a reported massive Apple iCloud attack, hackers have leaked numerous images of celebrities including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence.
Television's biggest night, the Emmy Awards, was dominated by the swansong of 'Breaking Bad'. Stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn took home awards while the show itself won the big one for Best Drama Series. On the comedy side of things, 'Modern Family' won yet again.
Richard Attenborough, the multi-Oscar winning filmmaker and character actor, has died aged 90.
Veteran 'Harry Potter' franchise director David Yates ('Order of the Phoenix', 'Half-Blood Prince' and both parts of the 'Deathly Hallows' finale) will return for the forthcoming spin-off trilogy.