DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick
May Contain Spoilers!
If ever there was a film of two halves, this is it. The first hour is great, with R. Lee Ermey as the Sargent, who has lived off his this role ever since. Funny insightful and horrifying and though Ermey’s relentless abuse, we witness the dehumanisation of a platoon of Vietnam recruits, which would eventually lead to a young Vincent D’Onofrio murdering his Sargent.
The second half is set in Vietnam, as the troops continue their dehumanisation, as they make their way through the Naam. The problem here is that it’s basically a one trick pony, as Kubrick is trying to hammer his points home, it becomes apparent that, that’s all he’s got. The army dehumanise its soldiers. Okay, got that, what’s next?
At least the first hour was entertaining, but the second, with Matthew Modine trying to hold the film down, badly, isn’t. It quickly bores and you find that you really want to see Ermey revived and back to his old, abusive self. Kubrick is one of cinema’s greatest directors in may senses, but with his triumphs, come along side his failures. This is not a total failure but it’s misjudged, as his two halves may as well have been from two different movies.
His points are well made but once that’s happened, there’s nothing else to do or say. It’s a valid argument and well executed but by the time we get to Vietnam, it just becomes a different, more boring and preachy affair. It’s a real shame as this is one of the rare examples of film which I would happily watch the first half of and then turn off.
If the film had carried on as it started then it may well would have been a 9 or 10 out of 10 but as it stands, 6 is all’s that can can award it.
Highly recommend the beginning but can’t recommend the film as a whole.