Author Topic: Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick  (Read 24829 times)

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Gold Trumpet

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« on: January 27, 2003, 10:59:18 PM »
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Full Metal Jacket, is likely the best example of all the limitations Kubrick had as a director after gaining so much power, that he could take 7 years to make a film with no fear of wasting time. The film lacks the emotional passion of Kubrick, last shown a long time before in Dr. Strangelove. With his career following Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick became more interested in formula and structure than anything else. Now, don't get me wrong, some of my favorite Kubrick films have come from this period, but Kubrick seemed unfit to be directing stories of more emotion, such as Full Metal Jacket.

 Full Metal Jacket is a brilliant conceived film that acts as an anti narrative to how war films played out. When the movie divides itself into two, and presents the first as a harrowing account of boot camp, what is expected is that the boot camp will lead to an intense war with all the promises of boot camp realized. The movie understands the war perfectly and acts it out as hope gone and shows the myth of war played out. When heroic fighting is expected, the movie givesa bunch of soldiers sitting around, bored and talking of everything they will do when they fight. The movie paints the Vietnam War as a media war that promoted these kids to being heroes when they were just kids in a mess of a war with no direction of what to do. Kubrick shows all this with excellence.

The major flaw with the movie, and for Kubrick post Dr. Strangelove, is that it can never fully succeed on an emotional level. Full Metal Jacket suggests lack of humanity in its title, but is very much of humanity with its final lesson, and that is the lesson of how hard it is to kill someone point blank. It is a very emotional thing but I can't help but notice how distant and cold Kubrick is in showing it. Even the build up to it seems lacking of what it deserves because the movie was so much focused on showing the irony of what Vietnam actually was and wasn't. With a movie like Apocalyse Now, you got a sense of freedom within the movie of anything could happen technically and emotionally. With Full Metal Jacket, you do not. What I would have wished was another director who would have extended the second part of the movie that would go from showing the ironies of the war and evolve into a personal story of the soldier, Joker. I think making it longer would have made the audience understand that war was not a blood fest of violence, but a mess on a different level, and with a personal story of one soldier going through it, the idea of how hard it is to kill someone would have been better realized.

With exception to 2001 and Barry Lyndon, all of his films post Strangelove seem lacking of freedom both technically and emotionally. The two films I named were movies fit for what was done in their themes. I still admire all these films, I just think they were never fully realized at all.

~rougerum

life_boy

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2003, 01:30:08 AM »
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Well, that's like.....your opinion, man.

Pwaybloe

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2003, 09:34:30 AM »
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Yeah, his opinion-stains are all over this place.  I need to smack him with the newspaper next time.  Bad dog.

Ghostboy

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2003, 10:01:21 AM »
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Full Metal Jacket is my least favorite Kubrick film. The first half is brilliant, and then it just kinda lopes along with the war scenes, which I don't think are that involving. I wish the whole movie had taken place at the boot camp.

However, I do think Eyes Wide Shut is one of his more emotionally accessible films. I thought it was a lovely look at the ambiguities of love and marriage.

RegularKarate

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2003, 12:48:10 PM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
Full Metal Jacket is my least favorite Kubrick film. The first half is brilliant, and then it just kinda lopes along with the war scenes, which I don't think are that involving. I wish the whole movie had taken place at the boot camp.


That's always the most disapointing and often view of that film.

Cecil

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2003, 06:50:22 PM »
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full metal jacket is a masterpiece

Recce

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Full Metal Jacket
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2003, 07:27:06 PM »
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Yeah, Full metal Jacket is the best. I think my favorite Kubrick film. I don't know what the Golden trumpet guy is talking about. The scene with the sniper dying is probly one of the most emotionnal moments in film history. It's jsut because Kubrick stretched his scenes out to near awkward proportion, it throws some people off.
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Gold Trumpet

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2003, 09:19:06 PM »
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you may think it was powerful, but I all i noticed on how focused the shooting of those scenes were. When Kubrick should have shown more freedom in showing the action, he did not. The shot of the sniper shooting the soldier and the effect of it was blatantely obvious to what it was trying to do that you wished he would have had more freedom in showing the end. The rest of the movie made sense for the formulas because it matched the themes but the end is where the humanity kicks in to reveal the final truth and there is an obvious difference in emotion between the final of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

~rougerum

Jeremy Blackman

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2003, 09:30:07 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
there is an obvious difference in emotion between the final of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.


A Kubrick movie has nothing to do with conventional emotion, though... you should know that.

I think the sniper scene is one of the best war scenes ever, and Full Metal Jacket is close to being my favorite Kubrick movie.
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Gold Trumpet

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2003, 10:05:32 PM »
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Ah, but I never said convential emotion, my point was to how much emotion was lacking at a very emotional time in the movie. You guys can argue all you want but a trademark of many Kubrick films is how involved his characters seem to be. Many times it is for good purpose, but when it comes to a time when something emotional is happening, it should be there. I didn't feel that at all as I felt the last third of the movie to discovering and killing the assasin was one of the barest ideas for drama of any Kubrick film and I never felt Kubrick actually bringing himself to show any more emotion.

~rougerum

Jeremy Blackman

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2003, 10:09:32 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Ah, but I never said convential emotion, my point was to how much emotion was lacking at a very emotional time in the movie.


You still haven't defined the emotion you seek as being unconventional or at all related to other Kubrick emotions, so I'm still assuming you're thinking about conventional emotion.
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Gold Trumpet

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2003, 10:17:30 PM »
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OK, if you want to call showing the emotional force of someone who talked that they were a killer but when throw into a war situation couldn't live up to it as he saw his only friend killed by a sniper that gripped him with fear and then being forced to perform a mercy kill as his first kill convential emotion? Then yes, trying to show that honestly is what I would want. My definition of the emotion Kubrick shows is to play with the idea of it instead of actually going into it. Full Metal Jacket is a movie set up in anti-narrative and the lack of emotion works well with the themes to the point, but when the movie crosses over to show the honesty of how hard it is to kill someone, then it becomes another movie and should be showed that way. Spitting it out as showing convential or unconvential simplifies Kubrick's movies, and you should know that.

~rougerum

Jeremy Blackman

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2003, 10:29:03 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Spitting it out as showing convential or unconvential simplifies Kubrick's movies, and you should know that.


The problem with that argument is that "unconventional" is a pretty unlimited term, so I'm only excluding one kind of emotion, because I think we've both established that Kubrick doesn't use conventional emotion.

Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Then yes, trying to show that honestly is what I would want.


Again, I think you're thinking about conventional honesty, conventional emotion, etc. You have yet to compare FMJ's emotions to the emotions of another Kubrick movie.

Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
My definition of the emotion Kubrick shows is to play with the idea of it instead of actually going into it. Full Metal Jacket is a movie set up in anti-narrative and the lack of emotion works well with the themes to the point, but when the movie crosses over to show the honesty of how hard it is to kill someone, then it becomes another movie and should be showed that way.


I think all the conflicts you mentioned are not necessarily conflicts. Kubrick "goes into" and idea by playing with it, in his own way. "Anti-narrative" (or unconventional narrative) does not exclude emotion.. in fact, it can use it far better than conventional narrative. You could actually say that emotion by its nature is anti-narrative, and a movie like Mulholland Drive is narrated by a turbulent succession of emotions and moods. I think if you let go of needing a conventional narrative to support everything you feel about a movie, you might find that "showing the honesty of how hard it is to kill someone" the way Kubrick does actually works well without narrative support, and its emotions are richer, in a more abrupt and visciously realistic way.
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Gold Trumpet

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2003, 10:52:02 PM »
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Saying unconvential/convential describes nothing in his films though.

It's not comparing the emotion, but the approach to showing the emotion instead. I can claim first half of Shining, Eyes Wide Shut, some of A Clockwork Orange. What I am saying is that his approach to material of emotion is lacking, like he doesn't really want to fully bring us in into the world. It's Kubrick's style of his later period, and keeping the performances down to a point where you don't feel them showing their characters fully. Sometimes this deals with the themes, like I said it does for much of Full Metal Jacket, but at the end, the movie changes and the performances and shooting do not.

If you really think I need a convential narrative to support everything I feel about a movie, then you have never read a word I have said on anything. My point, is very simple and will remain simple, Kubrick's anti narrative in story and emotion works fine for the entire movie until the movie storywise makes the decision to get out of anti narrative and show an emotional honesty for its ending. My problem lies in the ending when the movie didn't follow up on what the story had become.

~rougerum

ębrad

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Full Metal Jacket and the limitations of Kubrick
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2003, 08:38:57 AM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
you may think it was powerful, but I all i noticed on how focused the shooting of those scenes were. When Kubrick should have shown more freedom in showing the action, he did not. The shot of the sniper shooting the soldier and the effect of it was blatantely obvious to what it was trying to do that you wished he would have had more freedom in showing the end. The rest of the movie made sense for the formulas because it matched the themes but the end is where the humanity kicks in to reveal the final truth and there is an obvious difference in emotion between the final of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

~rougerum


shown more freedom? How so?

FYI, Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone both commented on the 'sniper scene' in FMJ as being 'expertly done,' and I think Stone and Scorsese know a bit more about photography...

 

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