Full Metal Jacket

Due to nearly constant exposure to Battlefield Vietnam over the last week, I went ahead and purchased a copy of Full Metal Jacket yesterday.

It’s interesting how often director Stanley Kubrick uses eyes to heavily convey plot in his movies, from the wild eyes of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, to HAL’s unblinking, red, murderous eye in 2001. Early in the Vietnam scenes, mention is made of “the thousand mile stare” that soldiers who’ve seen hell on earth obtain, and it’s interesting watching the exact moment where Joker’s face goes from fear and confusion while he tries to muster up the courage to shoot the sniper straight into that very stare afterward.

It’s also interesting to note that in nearly every case in which someone from the squad gets killed, it’s related to a mistake on their part, rather than simply luck of the draw. From the Lieutenant who doesn’t pay attention to the dangers ahead, to the soldier who picks up the booby-trapped stuffed rabbit, to Eight Ball’s mistake in navigation.

It’s a very powerful, disturbing movie, intentionally ugly as befitting its subject.