Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket

“If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day, you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human beings.”

There are a lot of good movies about war. Full Metal Jacket is a movie about soldiers. Directed by Stanley Kubrick (The Shining, 2001) and starring Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio, and R. Lee Ermey, this movie shows how war affects soldiers, but each soldier responds a little differently. In true Kubrick fashion, the message is not neatly wrapped and handed to the viewer, and it’s ultimately up to the viewer to decide what he or she feels afterward. Also in true Kubrick fashion, the movie is absolutely brilliant and masterfully executed. It stands out as a deeply personal war film with excellent art direction that’s worth seeing today.

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Platoon

Platoon

“I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. And the enemy was in us.”

There’s an old Native American parable about two wolves which fought for control of a man’s soul, one good and one evil, and it’s the one that was nurtured and fed that won the battle. Platoon, written and directed by Oliver Stone (Snowden, Natural Born Killers) and starring a host of actors, including Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker, plays out similarly, but with the two wolves manifested in the protagonist’s two commanding officers. It’s about war just as much as it’s about what war does to soldiers, and civilians. And as Chris, our protagonist, grows to admire both of his commanding officers for different reasons, the question of what kind of man he will become burns brighter still.

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