OLIVER STONE’S BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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This is an overwhelming cinematic experience, and one of many masterpieces for Oliver Stone. Tom Cruise went long and deep here, easily delivering one of his best and most passionate performances. This entire film singes the senses, with every single craft contributor working at the very top of their class. Robert Richardson’s mesmerizing widescreen cinematography created hellish epic landscapes of war-time fury that’s both nightmarish and slightly surreal, while still nailing the intense intimacy of the domestic sequences. Every performance from the ridiculously stacked supporting cast was dialed-in and extra heartfelt. Stone wanted everyone to FEEL SOMETHING with this one, from his actors to his crew to his audience, and in that sense, this film is similar to Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter. And while that film is more than likely a bit more uncompromising, I can’t help but feel that both of these fiery works share many artistic sensibilities. The score by John Williams skillfully added layers of sadness to an already bleak yet oddly triumphant narrative. A reminder of how horrible war is for all participants and a shattering indictment of the way America treated its many Vietnam veterans, Born on the Fourth of July scalds the viewer, on purpose and by design, and in doing so, likely registers as unforgettable cinema for anyone who encounters it.

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