Full Metal Jacket
FULL METAL JACKET
c. 1985-87, Color Feature Film, UK/USA, 116min
Set nearly equally in the dismal Paris Island boot camp and Vietnam battle zones of the late 1960's, FMJ is not just another notable late 20th Century "The-Vietnam-War-Was-Really-Bad" examination. In addition to the controversial subject matter and anti-war subtext (if interpreted that way), Kubrick introduces the audience to a vanguard narrative structure and unforgettable scenes that seem to get to the bottom of the stalemate situation and the darkness that lies in the hearts of all warriors no matter where they call home. TRIVIA: The casting of Lee Ermey as the tough-as-nails Drill Sergeant is considered brilliant alone - with his real-life experience, Ermey was initially brought aboard FMJ as a military consultant, but Kubrick decided that he would be best for the on-camera role, which seems so authentic that you'll either love or hate the Sarge character upon each viewing. As the years go by, you'll probably wonder what happened to that mid-20th Century style of "communicating" between American males, which may still be alive & well in the US Military despite all the demographic and HR changes since the Vietnam day. INTERESTING: FMJ was released about 30 years after Paths of Glory, Kubrick's other notable examination on the futility of war. While Kubrick is renown for never making the same film twice, he did explore the horrors of war several times directly or indirectly (including his hard-to-find first feature, Fear and Desire), and every Kubrick film seems to examine mankind's inherit tendency for physical and psychological violence.