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Full Metal Jacket

Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A-
What the MPAA Rating should be: R (for violence and suggestive language)

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford
Based on the book by: Gustav Hasford
Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Matthew Modine, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, R. Lee Ermey, Arliss Howard
Studio: Warner Brothers

Full Metal Jacket feels kind of like two different films. The first half of the film is amusing yet a painfully gruelling image of men becoming trained killers at a marine boot camp. The second half of the film studies the real war zone, the thing all these young men have been waiting for. The film shows how men change as they go through war and studies how many men just go out for the idea of "grabbing a gun." This is a very chilling idea, the fact that these men don't want to save innocent people, but rather use it as a chance for their own personal amusement. None of the men really understand what they are fighting for.

This is all a very interesting concept and even though this may sound to you like an extremely gruelling experience it actually has a great touch of dark humour. This is mainly taken from my favourite part of the film which is the parts with the infamous foul-mouthed drill Sergeant. At first you may feel that the film is very amusing and entertaining, but it starts to become more menacing and cold as the movie gets further into the boot camp. The men do not know that they getting closer and closer to being on the edge of death. Stanley Kubrick adds his trademark camera shots that span across long wide, empty hall creating a desolate and disturbing look. This is the style Stanley Kubrick uses in The Shining including one of those very evil looking smirks in the shadows. Vincent D'Onofrio steals the show with his depressing performance as the traumatised Pvt. Pyle, I felt very sorry for this guy because his performance made you give pity and feel sensitive towards him. This is the horror of what wars do to people...

I personally love the first half of the movie and definitely love the ending, but as a lot of people have mentioned the third quarter of the film feels slightly dis-joined and out of place. That is the only part of the film that takes away the cold dis-heartening message. The film contains a cast of unknowns, who all manage to put on relatively impressive performances as the trigger happy marines. Another thing I loved was the sniper scene, it was nerve racking and portrayed with a great sense of mystery. You see you don't see who is behind the gun, just some focusing in with their aimer. You get the slow-motion masterfully edited image of the men suddenly being shot down. An example of great cinematography.

The sharp dialogue adds to the humorous element with the quirky and quotable lines. The soundtrack is brilliant with the great 60s tunes pumping throughout the movie. I highly recommend this film if you looking for something a little different, as I said the only thing that lets it down is the third quarter and some contrived scenes of filmmaking that feel a little "self-centered." This is still a reasonable slice of entertainment. Though the film is very far from entertainment and rather a film that makes you sit back and think...

Sgt. Hartman yells at the film's narrator in Full Metal Jacket.
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