Casualties of War

  • Film
  • Drama
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De Palma is not a director one looks to for conscience, and his track record on the issue of rape has been innocent of moral debate. It's odd to find him dealing with both, and the non-sensationalist approach seems to have taken a toll on his energies: Casualties of War is dull. Sgt Meserve (Penn) kidnaps a Vietnamese girl to service his squad during a dangerous reconnaisance mission, and only the rookie Eriksson (Fox) opposes him. The quarrel is as static as their characters - Meserve plain nasty, Eriksson a model of decency. They shout at each other lots; when Eriksson reports the crime, Meserve tries to blow him up in the latrine. The official reaction - what's a crime in wartime? - only comes to life when Lt Reilly (Rhames) explains what injustice means to a black Southerner. David Rabe's screenplay is disappointing in the light of his brilliant Streamers, and the conclusion in which Eriksson achieves catharsis back home with a Vietnamese girl on a campus is preposterously corny.

Release details

Duration: 113 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Brian De Palma
Screenwriter: David Rabe
Cast: John Leguizamo
Ving Rhames
John C Reilly
Thuy Thu Le
Don Harvey
Sean Penn
Erik King
Michael J Fox
Dale Dye
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