12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Classic, horrific Vietnam film,
This review is from: Full Metal Jacket  [DVD] (DVD)
A horrific but brilliantly made film about the Vietnam War by Stanley Kubrick. Full Metal Jacket is split into two parts with the first 44 minutes covering the training of a new group of marine recruits and the remaining 76 at the war itself.
In the first act, the rookies are introduced to the sadistic, fowl-mouthed Sergeant Hartman (real life ex-marine Lee Ermey) who gradually dehumanises them into killing machines. Among the men are Private Joker (Matthew Modine), the only soldier who retains something of a conscience and Private Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio), overweight and slow to learn. Pyle soon becomes the victim of Hartman's relentless bullying but, under Joker's wing, he begins to get things right and is an excellent shot.
The marines all pass their training but, on the last night before they go their separate ways, Pyle loses his mind with catastrophic results.
Cue to Act Two, Joker is now in Vietnam working for the heavily biased Stars & Stripes newspaper which is distributed to the troops. On a reporting mission he comes across his old training camp friend Private Cowboy (Arliss Howard) and, with Cowboy's platoon, they try to apprehend a sniper hiding in a nearby building. The atmosphere and tension created in Full Metal Jacket is superb as the platoon try to catch the lone gunner with a climax in which Joker arguably comes to terms with what he solely witnessed with Pyle and is able to move forward as a killing machine.
Full Metal Jacket is an excellent film, enhanced by superb cinematography and some typical darkly whimsical Kubrick touches such as the opening credits during which the new recruits have their heads shaved. The first act is incredibly powerful and disturbing and the second part tense and (I imagine) realistic. Another classic Kubrick film.