A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Rocking once again from the Delta to the DMZ is Robin Williams exhibiting his unorthodox charm, whit and unsurpassable energy as the wizard of wordplay, the mixtape master; Adrian Cronauer. Barry Levinson’s 1987 comedy/drama set during the Vietnam War goes where others have not gone before – a radio station, and follows the journey of one high spirited, kind-hearted man, who is able to bring light, love and optimism to both parties during a time of such extreme horror.
Cronauer (Williams) is shipped across from Crete to begin working for the Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam. The intention is for Cronauer to bring humour and laughter to the damaged, broken and morale-lacking troops. From the moment the red light flashes and Cronauer delivers his famous catchphrase, the audience begin to fall in love with this man’s energy, enthusiasm and passion – it’s infectious.
Becoming increasingly popular amongst the troops, Cronauer becomes steadily restricted in what he can and cannot say, particularly following events that see him become heavily immersed within neighbouring Vietnamese communities. Torn between loyalties and conflicted by so many, Cronauer’s seemingly comedic escapades begin to slow down, making way for dramatic, physical and emotional struggles in the heat of war.
To learn that around 80% of William’s dialogue was completely improvisational came as no surprise when reflecting upon the sheer talent of the man, but it must be mentioned just how incredible that statistic is when watching it unfold. The man is so quick and remains 6 or 7 steps ahead at all times throughout the film. If there was to be a negative about the character of Cronauer, it would be that he is too much like the real life Williams in mannerisms, characteristics and overall appearance. However, that never made for unpleasant viewing, we lap it all up whenever we get the chance to witness his mastery.
For a Vietnam War film, “Good Morning, Vietnam” was clever in the way that it focused on such a minuscule element within the bigger picture and the enormity of how a singular man’s voice affected so many people. It shows the good and bad sides of war in excellent fashion, demonstrating how in amongst the constant terror, there are those who remain kind, cheerful and loving. Heartfelt, heartwarming and heartbreaking, “Good Morning, Vietnam” is one of William’s best ever performances and is an incredibly unique story to tell while focusing on the Vietnam War.