Born on the fourth of July follows Kovic from his hopeful days, then to his tragic days as a soldier in Vietnam, then to his return. He becomes incredibly depressed, suffers from Post traumatic stress, and then finally returns to become an anti-war protester. I am not a fan of Oliver Stone, and I like few of his films. I find he usually is too heavy handed and obvious. Born is included as one of the overly heavy handed ones in my opinion. Born depends a lot on Cruise who is almost every second of the film, which means Cruise really needs to be on the ball the whole time.
Which he is not. Cruise is not one of my favorite actors I will admit, I do not really like him when he doing lighter fair. He never seems very confidant in his performances, especially many of his early ones. Cruise was a big star when this film came out and this is his "give me an Oscar!" performance from that time. Cruise's performance always comes off as the "I'm acting" sort of way. I always saw him trying to be Ron Kovic rather than being Ron Kovic. He is always over acting the pain rather really seeming to have the pain. In his big yelling scenes like with his mother, all those scenes came off as false for me rather than realistic. Cruise just over did it, and rather seeming to be truly disturbed, he is trying to act like being disturbed but really is not. Cruise never gets the proper tone to these scenes at all. When he seems more into the war and saying love it or leave it, he is acting in a one dimensional character, and again everything rings false. His conviction to the role just does not seem to be true. Every different phase of Kovic Cruise goes through, Cruise fails to succeed in a single phase of the character. I will give him some credit that he tries he tries a lot with every scream and every fall the character has, but he never succeeds.