MovieChat Forums > Heaven & Earth (1993) Discussion > Im a big fan of Oliver Stone's but this ...

Im a big fan of Oliver Stone's but this movie is very disappointing.


The concept of telling the true story of war in Vietnam from a vietnamese perspective is very integral. Full marks to Oliver Stone for doing so, who else would you expect it from. The cinematography and other elements of the film making at times is very good. My problem with this film though is the dialogue, which is disappointing. Something that is also apparent in some of Stone's other movies inparticular JFK but it is less aparent in a film like Platoon which uses an authentic language, that being the language of a platoon at war which Stone is well associated with due to his own experiences. The difficulty in telling a story from the vietnamese side is that of the dialogue used. They start off all speaking almost perfect English to each other, then when they speak to Americans their English is poor, yet when they speak to each other in front of an American its in Vietnamese. If stone could have just stuck to one idea of how to communicate the vietnamese dialogue to the audience.

Im not sure if it was the screenplay or bad acting, maybe a bit of both but i wasn't feeling engrossed by the characters emotions. It didn't touch that nerve inside that made you care what happens to them.

What do others think?

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I know that writing this adds no actual benefit to my life or understanding of myself (or very little at best), but I can't help myself. Please continue reading, as I took the trouble to join as a member of this site just to respond to your comment about the EXTREMILY MOVING POWERFUL and BEAUTIFUL MOVIE; 'Heaven and Earth'.

Not speaking for Mr Stone, of course, but I assumed that a large target audience for this film was the American audience, of which speak English. It was simply more of an ease to watch a film with english speaking actors. Yes, when they talk to each other its Vietnamese, and I thought it brilliant they talk with even more an accent when in front of an English speaking person. But anyway, thats your problem, its a TINY insognificant detail, of which people should not quibble about because these LITTLE details do not make good movies. Its the overall message and how the story got there thats important.

NOW ONTO MY REAL 'BEEF'. Heip Thi Le. Never before (with the possible exception of Emma Thompson (in any movie to date) have I seen such a strong charasmatic, BELEIVABLE, powerful, heart rendering, emotional performance as her in 'Heaven and Earth'. If I knew her agent (and had enough money) I'd hire her in any one of my films. It was surely Oscar worthy. Im sure 'Shindlers List' could have spared one to give her for her outstanding ability. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I was in love with her.

I have to say, every time before I watch that movie, I have to ask myself if I want to go through the emotional turmoil the story gives me, as I know what the movie means to me.

Appoligies for the ruthlessness of this message. I'm an English man, and try to uphold myself a gentlman. I look forward to you're responce. (excuse the bad spelling).

I am a writer/director and this message is extremily poorly writen, as I did it in about 3 minutes.


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in this movie does tommy lee jones strip down naked and kill himself in a truck ?,if so and i do believe it is i seen it went it first came out to rent and i dont think it was as horrible as whoever said it was.
im a director/writer/producer and this message took 30 seconds to write.

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lb2400, yeah this is the movie in which Tommy Lee Jones shoots himself when naked in a truck, but I don't think his character stripped down naked to perform the act of suicide, I think his nakedness was meant to suggest that he sneaked out in the middle of the night to commit suicide before his friend & family could stop him.

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Apparently Stone said the nakedness was in part to signify you go out the way you come in, naked with nothing. This I think is to hint that Le's religion had effected his character to some extent as there was a conflict between Christianity and Buddhism throughout the film and secretly the character started to understand it.

ian

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I used to think people getting upset about Spoilers was stupid. Then, after looking up this movie on the message board while waiting for my Netflix DVD to arrive, I find this post in response posts about 'dialogue realism' in the movie. I now understand why people don't like spoilers, and hate you, lb2400. Not really. But Jesus Christ. Now it's - in part - ruined the experience of the movie. Oh, I'll still enjoy it, in that cinema-phile way of watching a preferred director's work, but I won't be watching the movie like a dumb American in a movie theater - seeing it for the first time.

Spoiler.
You made a hater out of me.

The worst part is: yours is an old post, so you'll probably never read this.
All told, IMDB sucks if you're looking for reviews/comments BEFORE watching a movie. And after you've seen a movie, you have to sift through people screaming about religion and politics to find actual conversation about the movies themselves.

Finally, in reply to the original and now nearly forgotten thread about the christing dialogue in the movie, I would point the poster to the commentary on Alexander, in which Stone discusses giving the actors various English accents to reflect the diversity of the Greek/Macedonian army - sheds light on why Vietnamese actors speak differently in different contexts in Vietnam.

God. What's the point of replying? I'm picturing the inevitable screaming rant response I'll probably get from some teenaged psycho druid just off a 48-hour gaming binge.

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^^^^
Hehehe... I dig that post. :-)

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This movie is one of my all time favorites. It not only tells the story through the eyes of a Vietnamese character, but through the eyes of a woman. She defied constricting expectations of her family and of her Religion. Because she so boldly did so, her life and the lives of her children were saved. Not just against war, but from poverty. She survived being a prisoner of war, a rape victim, being shunned by her Mother, her Father, and her village. She survived the advances of American soldiers, and finally the abuse, and eventual suicide of her American husband. She then went on to become a fairly successful American citizen. Talk about courage and endurance, I found her story to be both inspiring and unforgettable.

But, that's just me...

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. Please continue reading, as I took the trouble to join as a member of this site just to respond to your comment

I am a writer/director and this message is extremily poorly writen, as I did it in about 3 minutes.


So which is it? Did you take the time? Or just slop out some mouth diarrhea in 3 minutes.
Anyway, you missed the point of the OP... stone should have stuck to one dialogue method...it was annoying.

P.s. there's no excuse for stupidity...especially for a native English speaker.

P.p.s. I'm sure she doesn't want to 'star' in any of your gay porno 'films'

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This style is preferred by many who hate to bog down the story with subtitles, which limit audiences since too many americans are too lazy. They hear a film has subtitles and they automatically think, BORING. I think Oliver Stone used the perfect english more like a narative and poor english for dialog. The point was that when they spoke perfect english they really were speaking vietnamese but without subtitling it for the audience (Yeah, dumbing it down for the lazy but it does get more people to see it), when the scene called for them to speak infront of americans you are suppose to get the feeling as an audience member that you are really there as confused/distant as the soldiers and it emphasises the audiences american ties in a way, and while when they spoke perfect english it was to draw you in as well without creating a barrier (Which subtitles can also do) Poor communication can lead to indifference.
As for touching a nerve, I personally prefer Joy Luck Club to this movie but that is probably only cause I relate to that story more, being "ABC" and all.

Hope this ramble makes sense.

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i prefer having characters in a movie from another country speak to each other in english and when they speak to a "foreigner" address them in a broken dialect of the foreigner's language. When they speak to each other in their own language make it so the "foreigners" can't understand them. If you're not going to have them speak in a foreign dialect, this is the best way to present this (in my opinion). Far better than having the actors converse to one another with horrible fake accents. Whenever I hear fake accents in a movie I all ways wonder "what's the problen, these guys can't speak there own language?"

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Good movie, but why not just have the Vietnamese characters speak to each other in Vietnamese and in English to Americans? Hell, at least 1/4 of the dialogue in The Killing Fields is in Khmer, and the filmmakers had the guts to not even subtitle a single line of it, giving the film a great sense of authenticity.

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[deleted]

The film was made in Thailand so many of the extras were Thai and couldn't speak Vietnamese.

Its a similar case with the Disney Movie "Operation Dumbo Drop". In the opening scene the characters are all talking to each other in Thai even though it is supposed to be in Vietnam.

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[deleted]

Not all of the actors portraying Vietnamese spoke Vietnamese.

Joan Chen, for example, who played the mother, is Chinese.

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Having the cast speak English doesn't just "dumb it down for the lazy". The actors would have had to learn the language, etc, adding more complexities to the script and the production.
Sometimes certain details just are not necessary for every film.

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[deleted]

The book was writen by Le Ly. A woman I would like to meet.

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i met her. she came to my school because my teacher is friends with her. she is really cool.

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I'm a big fan of Oliver Stone and I didn't know this movie existed. Must have been the ecstasy.

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Dunno, I just watched this film for the 1st time and didn't hesitate for a second to give it 10 points when came here. I just loved it :-/

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