Full Metal Jacket

Today, I thought I talk a bit about what is probably my favourite war film of all time…and that is of course, Stanley Kubrick’s, Full Metal Jacket, definitely one of the best Vietnam War Films ever made. It has a perfect mix of black humour and shocking, realistic drama meaning it’s perfect to watch if you want a bit of a laugh or are up for some intense drama. The first part of the film is set in a Vietnam War training camp where the marine privates get both trained to be the perfect killing machine and also get humiliated constantly by Gny. Sgt. Hartman (R.Lee Ermey)…one of the most memorable characters in film history and from where the majority of the dark humour comes from. His favourite to abuse is Leonard Lawrence/Pvt. Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio) who can’t seem to do anything nearly to the standard he is expected to and is therefore hated by many of his fellow privates (the soap in socks scene).

However, the protagonist of the film is Pvt. Joker (Matthew Modine) who is the one person who tries to help Pyle but ultimately watches him go mad due to the constant verbal torture from Sgt. Hartman and is witness to Pyle’s suicide in the fantastic bathroom scene. After the intensity of that scene, the film moves forward in time and shows Joker and another graduate from Hartman’s House of Horror, Pvt. Cowboy (Arliss Howard) in Vietnam and Kubrick takes us through some incredibly watchable scenes, like I say, what makes this film so great is its ability to mix humour with very serious events, in this way it is similar to Kubrick’s earlier film, Dr Strangelove (I’ll be posting about that soon) and it’s what makes Kubrick one of my personal all time favourite directors.

This is certainly not a film for the immature (a mature 15 year old would be fine) as it does deal with rather shocking and harrowing concepts such as dehumanization and the killing of civilians but has the tendency to present these directly after something that made you laugh and that is why it is my favourite War film of all time. Everything from the acting (especially Ermey) to the camerawork, the soundtrack and the story is brilliant.

If you love Vietnam War films (or even if you don’t) it should definitely be something you give yourself time to watch…you will not regret it…it is one of the most watchable films I own.

Let me know your thoughts on Full Metal Jacket in the comments or if you have any suggestions about improvements to posts…also you can contact me at┬ámorgan@thepurpledon.com.

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