Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket' turns 25

By Robert Kirchgassner ,
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Another film which celebrates its silver anniversary this year is Stanley Kubrick’s war film Full Metal Jacket.

The first act is the most celebrated portion of this movie. It centers on the rookie Marines at a boot camp on Parris Island and how their drill sergeant (real-life drill Sgt. R. Lee Ermey) makes sure their become credits to the service.

Of course, anyone who’s seen the film knows that his tactics backfire horribly in regard to one private (Vincent D’Onofrio), who is socially inept.

The second portion of the film deals centers on another private (Matthew Modine) who witnessed the tragic end to his boot camp days and is now in Vietnam (the film was actually shot around London). He is a journalist who wishes to experience the war first-hand. Needless to say, he and his fellow troops get that wish.

Some said that the second half pales in comparison to the first. But I always felt that, while the first half is rightfully celebrated, the second is also powerful, as it conveys how horrible war is, even if some of the characters do not view it that way.

Kubrick would receive an Oscar nomination for the screenplay, which he co-wrote with Michael Herr and Gustav Hasford and which was based on Hasford’s novel The Short-Timers.

Ermey and D’Onofrio deservedly became famous thanks to this film. But we’d have to wait 12 years before Kubrick’s next and final movie Eyes Wide Shut (1999).



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