the fresh films reviews

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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Directed by:
Stanley Kubrick
United Kingdom/USA


Full Metal Jacket

92 minutes

Produced by:
Stanley Kubrick

Written by (based on a novel by Gustav Hasford):
Stanley Kubrick
Michael Herr
Gustav Hasford

Cast includes:

Private/Sergeant J. T. "Joker" Davis Matthew Modine
Private Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence Vincent D'Onofrio
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman R. Lee Ermey
Sergeant "Animal Mother" Adam Baldwin
Private/Sergeant "Cowboy" Evans Arliss Howard
Private First Class "Rafterman" Kevyn Major Howard
Corporal "Eightball" Dorian Harewood
Doorgunner Tim Colceri -

First Lieutenant "Touchdown" Schinoski

Ed O'Ross -
First Lieutenant Lockhart John Terry -



Stanley Kubrick's penultimate film, and the last one to be released during his lifetime, was one in a line of Vietnam War movies during this period, along with among others Oliver Stone's Platoon and Barry Levinson's Good Morning Vietnam. Whereas Stone and Levinson took their productions to Southeast Asia, Kubrick filmed his picture in England, which may be claimed to give it a somewhat more artificial feel. Then again, Kubrick always did adhere to his own particular pretense, and if nothing else, Full Metal Jacket is a truly cinematic work of art. The film is basically twofold: The first part a harrowing study of the training of U. S. Marine recruits, given a painstaking realism thanks to the performance of real-life drill instructor turned actor R. Lee Ermey, who as the brutal Gunnery Sergeant Hartman shouts drill commands till kingdom come. The second part moves us into the action in Vietnam, where Kubrick assembles a collection of scenes which feel as random and unplanned as war itself despite being obviously expertly devised. Some scenes have an overly choreographed feel, but there's an undeniable intensity to it all a magnetism which makes it hard to look away and not get invested. And like the Vietnam War itself, the film has no clean ending, no real redemption, only respite. There are many fine supporting performances by some of the less flashy young actors from the era, including Arliss Howard, Alec Baldwin and Dorian Harewood. But it is Mr. Ermey who steals the show in every scene that he is in.

Copyright 19.10.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang