Not one of the better films to watch on veterans day.
Marine recruits (including Matthew Modine and Vincent D’Onofrio) endure the grueling ordeal of basic training and later face the unrelenting Viet Cong during the 1968 Tet Offensive in this grim Stanley Kubrick drama, based on a novel by Gustav Hasford.
Personally, I love Stanley Kubrick films. I think his way of film-making is so rich and grand that when he died not many knew what a legacy he left behind. Kubrick right here doesn’t stop to impress me.
One thing to point out about this film is that it isn’t your average normal war film. There are many scenes of combat, but most of it is what goes on before being shipped out to the war, and what goes on when you are shipped out in the war. Some will find it boring, I found it refreshing to finally see what these soldiers we’re like before the war, and in between it.
The fantastic element of the movie is its portrayal of the moral ambiguity of that war, the soldiers’ awareness of this issue, and their commitment to fight on, not for country or cause, but for one another, as well as an undefined inertia.
The way Kubrick has this movie filmed is also very extraordinary. He films these takes while war is happening and the camera moves up and down as if you were watching the view of a soldier in combat with them. I felt like I was right there with them and felt very much more compelled to the story. Also, there are plenty of other just beautiful shots that really do make this film look even more spectacullar.
The screenplay is what really plays out well in this film. The dialogue here feels so realistic and so genuine that I thought I was watching a real film about real people. There is also some little blends of black comedy that really do make this film great and a lot more enjoyable than some would think.
Though I liked Kubrick’s direction I just don’t think it was meant for this type of movie. Kubrick is known for making these sc-fi thriller films about the unexplainable. With this film he gets a little too dynamic and doesn’t hit the right cord with this film as he has done with his plenty of others. I think that his directing is good just not made for this film, and what takes it away from being great.
The little supporting acts in this film really do shine. R. Lee Ermy does the best job in this whole film and fully does capture this essence of a hard as nails drill sergeant, who with his orders and yells, makes this film amazing. The only problem I had with the acting was that the film is centered around Matthew Modine, and he doesn’t really do a great job in this film and I didn’t find him very believable until the very end.
I also thought that the ending could’ve been so much better. Kubrick is known for his great endings to any film, and he plays the ending with a cheesy and corny not so anti-war message ending.
Consensus: Though it is good not great, Full Metal Jacket has great direction from Kubrick, realistic screenplay, and some great visuals, but suffers from Kubrick becoming his own worst enemy early on in the film.