Man. This was a tough one for me.
Now I'm not going to get into the politics and situations as to why in the name of human sanity this f***ing country stuck around in a war like Vietnam. I could. But I'm not going to. I will simply say that this film did nothing but reinforce my personal beliefs on it. Full Metal Jacket is a fine movie, made well over a decade after the war was over and I appreciate what the film intended and more importantly accomplished. The few war movies I have seen do not sugar coat anything and just tell it as it is, and that is exactly what it should do but with this particular movie it goes one step further and visually tells you about the dehumanizing effects of a war. It's really tough to talk about something both in film and real world conversation that destroyed millions of lives. However, Stanley Kubrick did it right and it's not a character study, it's not a film documenting a real life platoon, it just shows us the course of one soldier from boot camp to the middle of the war. No ending where he survives the war and gets to go home, the film ends in the aftermath of one conflict amongst hundreds if not thousands. It really does put it all into perspective, I'd be terrified beyond words to live in the 1960s at my age now and some people bitch and moan about today's state of the country but the 60s was an entire different beast. But it's not just the story, the performances are what either makes or breaks your film in such a context and they are spot on. Matthew Modine is something else, playing a soldier who states multiple times that he joined the Marines to kill and yet you never even see him pull a trigger, it is a fascinating and great performance and really is what sold me on this being one of the best war films if not films period. Vincent D'Onofrio is....shit, he's good. That's all I can say. Jesus H. Christ if that man didn't get any kind of award nod I'm going to have a problem. And I can almost say 110% that even if you haven't seen the movie, you can quote R. Lee Ermey in this movie, and I get it! It's a great performance that he barely had to even act in, the man was practically born to verbally rip you to shreds though he was a nice man and held a lot of respect in life. The film looks damn good at times, and is shot more traditionally than in Kubrick's usual style though it does creep in here and there, the music is used sparingly and effectively to perfect build and tension, and the use of slow-mo makes you feel every impact. I think the film was trying to convey this sense of abhorrent desensitized violence, and it really does get under your skin because some of the soldiers are just plain f***ed up. I've yet to meet a person who was pro-war, but even then I'm sure this film would change their stance pretty damn quick. It's not a film to entertain, but more to just make you question human nature. It's certainly worth your time and money easily, but there is more to it than one hell of an opening monologue and some very quotable lines. 8.5/10, can our final Kubrick film top two already great films? We shall soon learn.
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