Full Metal Jacket (1987): “The movie speaks of the duality of humans…”

“The first time that I saw Full Metal Jacket (1987), I could see that it was a good movie in every single scene, but it felt slightly off paced. I was forced to watch it for a school project, because there was a list of Stanley Kubrick films and I chose this one. I was forced to go through the movie four or five times.”

“The movie splits up halfway to scenes in a boot camp and it takes up half the movie. You expect it to be a war movie that takes place in Vietnam the entire time, but it doesn’t, which makes it slightly disappointing. It turned out to be a movie about squad morale in the marines or the military. It also shows how messed up the war in Vietnam was. It’s not a film that tells you how great the United States is and that they totally did not lose that war, but it’s actually a lot deeper. I was fifteen at the time that’s when I used to like films with action and explosions. So, I was like, “that’s not how I watch movies.” Still this is the movie that taught me to look at movies as art, more than as entertainment. I started thinking about the intent behind it. What is the movie trying to say? What was the director thinking about when he wrote the script? And so on.”

“Even though such a movie has a slow feel to it, it can be perfectly structured. You can look at a movie like a painting. You might think it is ugly at first, but later you can look at it and like it or ask yourself what it meant to convey. It could have been just footage of Americans fighting against Vietnamese people for your enjoyment, but that’s disgusting. What you want to see is something that is two sided. There is a scene where you see this guy with a peace sign, but also ‘born to kill’ on his helmet at the same time. So the movie speaks of the duality of humans. On the one side it’s action and the other the human interaction. There is a representation of the torment that they go through in boot camp and then later how they translate that into their violent tendencies in Vietnam. It is just an excellent movie. I think everyone should watch it.” – Paul

Photo taken by Feargal Agard
Story written by Feargal Agard

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