Thursday, March 26, 2015
295 of 1001 Movies: Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Summary: During 1967 in the Vietnam War, new recruits are arriving at Parris Island for basic training. Upon arriving most the guys are young, and excited to explore. They haven't recognized what they got themselves into though. After several weeks of training together, and even graduating the first cracks in sanity are beginning to show among some of the men, and one, Joker, witnesses it firsthand. The rest of the movie conveys the men in Vietnam fighting for a cause even they seem confused about.
The scene building up to the break of Pyle could easily be noted as one of the most memorable. While it was intense and kept me on edge I couldn't help but think of earlier works like The Shining or A Clockwork Orange. It's always done well when he conveys the breaking of the psych, but also I felt there were more unique moments and realizations in the movie. I think the oncoming breakdown of Pyle is obvious, but what it does to Joker not so much, who witnesses it firsthand.
Joker perhaps justified what he was doing with a light and protective attitude regarding his friends, but he never becomes inhumane. I think seeing what can happen early on keeps him the most levelheaded though he is damaged.
The range of other characters make for an interesting mix up to the story. You have some who seem to have justified their acts in various ways. None seem to be quite patriotic anymore.. Most are fighting back in revenge, because they believe the Vietnamese are unthankful, some who seem to enjoy killing, and others who are just trying to survive. Whatever the reason the whole thing is a bad situation, and in their own human ways everyone is trying to cope. It's not as much about the war as it is about the depths a human might plunder into without good reason to stay afloat.