Right & Wrong
Set in the heart of the Vietnam War, Point Man is a decidedly character-driven film, focusing much more on the horrors involving the American soldiers rather than the overarching conflict in Vietnam. While the film itself does bring up some thought provoking themes around prejudice, racism and war crimes, the low budget and slightly wooden acting does hold this one back from being a more polished title.
The story predominantly follows a small platoon of soldiers caught deep in the sweltering, sticky humidity of the lush Vietnam forests. At the heart of this sits Casper, an oppressed black man with a fiery personality, determined to fight for equality no matter what. After an early disagreement with one of his squad-mates, Silas Meeks, what follows is a journey that sees the platoon plunged into conflict and having to deal with the ensuing chaos that follows.
The main crux of drama here really boils down to one split second decision that causes the squad to fracture. It’s here where loyalties are questioned as the true horrors of war are revealed. All of this builds up to a climactic showdown involving a flurry of bullets and blood spilled on both sides of the conflict.
There’s some really nice character segments here too and Casper in particular is a very easy protagonist to root for. His bold ideas and passion for equality really help him stand out in the squad and opposite Meeks, the two have a pretty decent rivalry that bubbles up nicely throughout the film.
Stylistically, Point Man is pretty formulaic in the way it’s shot aside from one very impressive scene to open the film. This features a shot of a dead point-man in the foreground whilst soldiers scramble behind him while under enemy fire. It’s an incredibly powerful image and one that perfectly captures the mood of the war. I just wish the rest of the film experimented a little more with its shots as much as it did here. Still, there’s a consistency to the editing and general aesthetic of the film that does keep things moving along at a steady pace.
If you’re a fan of war films or character-driven dramas, Point Man is well worth a watch. If you can look past the budget restraints and slightly lacklustre acting, there’s a really nicely worked story at the heart of this one. The twist midway through certainly caught me off guard and the general themes run strongly throughout, tying everything together. It’s not perfect but it is well written and if you can take to the story, you’ll certainly get some enjoyment out of this one.