Plot – A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanising effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue- Full Metal Jacket
Director – Stanley Kubrick
Starring – Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio
For fans of – Gallipoli, 1917, Dunkirk
Released – 1987
We can see every war film as an anti-war film, but very few are as clear-cut as Kubrick’s Vietnam War epic Full Metal Jacket, which apart from The Shinning takes a much darker tone than any of his other works. Feeling like two movies combined, the first half in Bootcamp and the second in battle, it’s clear that Kubrick wished to expand on the themes we saw in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and further explore the dehumanising process that soldiers go through, with the conflict driving them to point of insanity even before they’ve set foot on foreign soil and illogical nature of the war, where the US army believe victory possible when defeat is all but certain of any outsider.
Full Metal Jacket also happens to be one of the most beautifully shot war films ever made, rivalling both Apocalypse Now and Terry Malick’s Thin Red Line in terms of crisp and colourful shots and sequences that when paired wonderfully with the music make a memorable impression. With all this combined, Full Metal Jacket remains one of the best war films ever produced, delving deep into the psyche of what it is to be a soldier in an unwinnable war. Something only a true auteur like Kubrick could accomplish.