Saturday, February 11, 2006

What's your major malfunction?

Wow! I'd heard good things about Full Metal Jacket (and bad things too). But i must say, i really was impressed. It seems to be the basis for most war movies since. The opening scene is of all the marines getting their hair cut. Can't help but think of the scene in GI Jane when Demi Moore cuts her own hair off. Next, there is the evil drill sergeant, who doesn't seem quite as evil as some of the more recent ones. He dishes out push ups and verbal insults, but doesn't seem to truly hate his men. He even seems proud of Pile when he turns out to be a good shooter, and qualifies for actual combat. He seems to accept Joker's intelligence, even if he doesn't always admire it.
When all the men recite their "prayer": This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine, etc,etc. I was reminded of a similar scene in the recent movie "Jarhead". I guess it's just kind of a marine thing.
There were a few very striking scenes. When Pile shoots himself in the head and we see the results in full graphic detail, it's a little disturbing to say the least. The special effects throughout the movie are pretty good, we see blood spurting out of people, in slow motion, on various occasions.
The next really striking scene was the sniper scene. Cowboy and his "navigator" realize they made a mistake adn try to change course. "8 Ball" tries to cross a sort of no man's land, only to get shot down. He doesn't die immediately, but continues to be shot and moans repeatedly. Then another soldier joins him, and gets the same fate.
The climax of this scene though, is when the viewer realizes that the sniper is a woman. Throughout the movie different issues are delved into. Religion is addressed when Joker admits he doesn't believe in the Virgin Mary. Race is addressed with the hooker who is wary about sleeping with a black man. And in the scene with the sniper the viewer comes face to face with their own gender stereotypes. Who doesn't expect a young man in his mid twenties to be doing the shooting?
The emotional punch comes when she begs to be shot, repeating over and over and over again, "Shoot me, shoot me, shoot me" Ugh.
Another big issue is the idea of "collateral damage". Joker asks one of the marines how he can shoot women and children. He replies, "Easy, you just don't lead 'em as much".
So, all in all a though-provoking, gruesome, well made movie. I give it 4 stars.

And here is the trailer:

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

And don't forget the movie is from Stanley Kubrick, who brought us 2001, THE SHINING, and EYES WIDE SHUT. He has a distinct means of using the camera and there are some great tracking shots in the film.

If you watch this film next to AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, a 1983 Richard Gere vehicle, you really see the stark contrast between movies that have Hollywood written all over them and movies that don't want anything to do with Hollywood.