What I watched: Full Metal Jacket (1987)
How I watched it: DVD
Snacks: Salad & hot chocolate
Synopsis: Young US Marines endure an endless pit of insults from their drill sergeant in training before facing the war in Vietnam.
Why I watched: I watched this as part of the 1001-movies-to-see-before-you-die challenge. Having seen JFK a week or so ago, it left me wanting to watch a Vietnam war film (a genre I have long avoided).
Notes: I’m not sure if I enjoyed any of this film. I may have enjoyed some of Sergeant Hartman’s choicest insults and lectures and I think I liked seeing the evolution of the marines over the course of their training. The first hour of the film was something I might watch again. The second half, when the marines went to Vietnam, was more difficult to watch.
The Joker, the film’s lead character, whose sarcasm and wit was fun in the first half of the film, felt grating and overly cocky in the second half. Sheltered from the front lines by his commission as a field journalist, his remarks, even the anti-war sentiments he was spouting, seemed too trite and he lost any of my sympathy. His interactions with other fighters were similarly cocky and annoying.
It’s clear that the film is anti-war (as all films about the Vietnam war are, I’d wager) but that doesn’t stop it from being painful. It isn’t preachy, and I wonder (not being an expert on the subject) how realistic it’s depictions are.
Recommend: Yes. Unless you’re a person who really hates war films.