Article 3499 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-15-2011
Posting Date: 3-14-2011
Directed by Henry Jaglom
Featuring Dennis Hopper, Taryn Power, Dean Stockwell
What it is: Postwar Vietnam drama
A soldier returns from Nam with the body of his friend and accompanies it on a train across the country to where he believes his friend will receive a hero’s welcome. However, the experience at Nam has left the soldier rather disturbed.
According to John Stanley’s CREATURE FEATURE MOVIE GUIDE STRIKES AGAIN, this movie qualifies due to the fantasy nature of the hallucinations of the soldier. Still, I’m not sure whether these sequences really take us into the realm of fantasy, though he is obviously imagining things that aren’t happening. Of course, there’s the theme of madness to contend with, but it’s obvious that the main brunt of the movie is about a man who fought in a war that no one cares about; except for the moments where the soldier brings it up himself, nobody talks about the war. The movie is about the great distance between the soldier’s perceptions about what war should be (it’s fitting that all the music in the movie is from World War II, perhaps the most romanticized war of the twentieth century) and what it turned out to be in this case.
I recall having seen a Henry Jaglom movie years ago, but I don’t remember it much. If you like bizarre snatches of conversation, he will probably appeal to you, but I do find that over the length of a movie, it does wear thin. Dennis Hopper is excellent as an extremely neurotic man having trouble adjusting, but that gets a little old after a while as well. It’s an intermittently interesting watch, but those wishing to view it for its fantastic content should go elsewhere.