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Full Metal Jacket

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Introduction

Vietnam - Full Metal Jacket * What is the attitude of the director of the film Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick) to the war in Vietnam? * From your studies of this topic would you agree with his interpretation? Stanley Kubrick explores the behaviour of men in battle. This movie focuses on the training of a battalion of men from the U.S. Marine Corp., and shows their involvement in the army, from the moment they arrive at the training centre, on Parris Island, through their dehumanizing training programme, all the way to the turning point of the Vietnam War, which was when the climactic battle of the TET Offensive took place. It is the Vietnam War portrayed as World War Two, cocky and trigger-happy. The attitude of the director in this film is that of a mocking individual. Stanley Kubrick seems to perceive the Vietnam War as a joke, especially in his movie. Firstly the main character is Private Joker, whose name is mockery enough, but he is seen sporting, throughout the movie, a badge with a peace symbol, and a helmet with "born to kill" written across the front of it. ...read more.

Middle

He hangs the film by a thread and wants the audience to look deep into it. He picks it apart slowly, and piece by piece, until it becomes like an unsolved jigsaw puzzle, and he leaves it up to us to decide if it's a bad thing, or a good thing, this "training and fighting for your country" scenario. If Stanley Kubrick were to take the war in Vietnam as a serious thing, he would for certain, have not focused on how brainwashed the Americans became within their training centre, which took almost half of the film. Kubrick spent a lot of time on this because it is clear that he wanted us to think about this process before Americans were thrown into the war, and how they have to be so intensively trained to kill, before they can do it as second nature. Almost like they haven't the strength or willpower to be thrown head first into a War, and give 100% for their country and what they believe in. He was showing us how by dehumanizing trainees, it makes them into animals, where thinking is a vice, and killing is a virtue. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rather cynical I would say. He is being cocky, and obviously trying to make a joke out of the situation, but he doesn't realise that he has actually taken a human being off the face of the Earth. The reason he doesn't realize this: He has been demoralized throughout his time at training with his other trainees on Parris Island. During his time as a military journalist, I think that it is obvious how Joker has been demoralized, despite his willpower to stop himself from killing people. He says "I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture, and kill them. I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill." He is boasting about killing people, he would be happy and proud to kill someone, and this is what Kubrick tries to get across in the film, that the way that the American Government has trained the Marine Corps, is wrong, by spending so much time showing the intensity of it. And at the end of the day I feel the same way about this. And that is why I think Kubricks' interpretation of the film was completely true and correct. America's training ways are wrong. ...read more.

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