This film based on the true life experiences of Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) who started out as a dedicated patriot joining the US Marines to fight in Viet Nam. His experiences in Nam make him embittered with the futility of the conflict and the sufferings of the Vietnamese.
The first part of the film showing Kovic growing up and joining the marines is more targeted at American audiences, but once he is wounded, paralysed and a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair the appeal is universal. His gradual conversion to the aims of the “Stop the war movement” and peace activist are superbly acted by Cruise.
This is a tough, harrowing film to view, it depicts the desperate trauma I have read about suffered by Nam vets, I once saw a veteran comment “Nam made me so wild I am not safe to live amongst ordinary people”. We encounter the equivalent of that in this film, it is devastatingly honest and depicts not only the horrors of the conflict, the field hospitals, and the destruction of the souls of the men who survived.
Compelling viewing, but only if you are prepared to face the truth about war, but at the end there is some kind of hope.