84 Charlie Mopic is a gripping film about Vietnam, told completely through the eyes—and lenses—of a young military cameraman. As such, it offers a view which is more intimate and unique than any other Vietnam drama that has preceded it. Complimenting this rare use of exclusive first-person camera are a superb script, fine direction, and an outstanding ensemble cast of relatively unknown actors, performing together with great intensity, harmony and balance.
In 1969 five men of an Army reconnaissance unit set off on a three-day mission into the Central Highlands, accompanied by a cameraman who has come to make a training film for new recruits. After an initial successful skirmish, the unit finds itself pursued. With the camera always rolling, some are wounded, some killed as they struggle back to a besieged rendezvous site.
Writer/director Patrick Duncan has said that the failure of most war films is that they focus “on the war and not on the warriors.” (He should know; Duncan spent fifteen months in Vietnam between 1968 and 1969.) He has succeeded admirably in presenting the terrifying circumstances of young men in battle. 84 Charlie Mopic participated in the 1985 Filmmakers Lab at Sundance.
— Tony Safford
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