Full Metal Jacket Essay

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Stanley Kubrick’s critically acclaimed Full Metal Jacket encapsulates the brutal reality of the Vietnam war unseen by the general population at the time of its release (1987). Kubrick utilizes his signature filming and directing techniques to deliver a film full of breath stopping long takes and dramatic cuts that accentuate the overall themes of unnecessary male aggressiveness and the futility of war. Kubrick uses long cuts to showcase the gritty surroundings of war, especially so with long cuts following the soldiers into battle in small urban zones, which lends a very intimate and anxious glimpse of enlisted life to the viewer. These dramatic shots allow for a sensory overload of visuals, dialogue, and cinematic score that can leave a lasting effect on the individual viewer. Along the same lines as these long cuts, the establishing shot has a preferred place in Kubrick’s arsenal. Most transitions in the plot are…show more content…
Kubrick frames certain shots of main characters faces, particularly Joker, to really drive the emotion felt for a private in a similar situation, and present us with one we can identify personally with. The high angled shots of Joker earlier on in basic training, especially in the bathroom scene, give his face an eerie glow and a slender looking smile that almost seems stretched unnaturally. We can begin to see the possible negative mental effects of such a rigorous training program present in Jokers calm, unfaltering façade. Kubrick also displays emotion through full face shots in other characters, like Private Pyle’s mentally disturbed grimace he gives to Joker in the barrack bathrooms in the middle of the night. The full shot of Pyle’s face, his mind broken from the abusive drill sergeant, accentuated with the creeping moonlight from high windows lends to a truly unsettling scene of mental

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