Setting- Vietnam during the middle of the war Casting- Shia Lebouf plays Henry Fleming, all others are extras Costumes- Reproduction US jungle camo fatigues Themes- Progression of character, treacheries of war, transition from newbie to veteran
The movie begins with a view of a helicopter flying above the jungle, carrying a small platoon of soldiers. Small talk between Henry and another soldier ensues, including talking about how he joined the war for the thrill of being part of something larger than himself, despite his mother's instruction not to. Henry is 18 and a new recruit. The helicopter sets down, and almost immediately the battle starts. The battle is won, but with several casualties, including the man Henry was talking to on the Helicopter. The next morning, they are ambushed, and Henry flees in fear. Henry wanders around the jungle, unsure where to go at this point, since as a deserter, he is enemy to both sides. He finds another US platoon, who assumes he's the last of his platoon. They are all visibly injured, with broken or missing limbs, or bandaged gunshot wounds. Henry decides to fight beside them. Henry begins his first battle alongside the platoon, and fights fiercely. This marks his transition from recruit to veteran.