Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

1987 | R | 116 Minutes

Drama | War

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Full Metal Jacket is not just about war, but rather the psychology behind it. A smart move from the legend that was Stanley Kubrick. We've all seen many war films, a genre that is well explored from a variety of different conflicts. Full Metal Jacket however chooses to go behind the scenes and focus on the training process that changes well intentioned men into trained lethal killers. You could easily split this in half and have two separate films, the first half being more psychologically charged whereas the latter showcasing the brutality of warfare. A ridiculously serious drill sergeant practically bullying a trainee marine so harshly that it slowly turns him into an unstable psychopath. That right there, was some really good psychology and made the film so much more interesting. Sure the Vietnam War scenes were depicted with a substantial amount of fire, blood and guns but it was the first half that really captivated me. Vincent D'Onofrio was the stand out for me, both convincing and expressive through his face. Matthew Modine was good, probably his best performance. Lee Ermey deserves recognition just for somehow managing to not lose his voice from all the shouting. Characterisation was present, perhaps not fully fleshed out as I would like but was just enough for me to care about them. Yet again though, it's the technical marvel that wins...Stanley Kubrick. His directing style is so damn flawless. The nice clean long takes, actors looking directly into the camera, slow motion deaths (particularly in the sniper shootout)...he is just phenomenal. Script was sharp as well. A great section of dialogue where our lead character wears a peace badge and a helmet that says "born to kill" for which he describes represents the duality of man. That really stuck with me. So whilst it might feel like two separate films (due to that ridiculously quick transition), it's hard not to appreciate everything that's shown to us. Another hit from Mr. Kubrick.