Full Metal Jacket is serious watching.
It’s the acting that makes this movie a classic. D’Onofrio is heartbreaking as Gomer Pyle, an overweight Vietnam War recruit who unravels under the pressure of marine boot camp. Matthew Modine plays a successful recruit looking to get into war journalism. R. Lee Ermey was convincing and nuanced as the cruel drill sargeant, Gny. Sgt. Hartman. R. Lee Ermey’s character represented the conflict that is always present in war. He needs to prepare his men for war for the sake of keeping them alive, but does he go too far? Is “Hartman” a pun on “heart”? Modine is also good as the fast-talking ambitious one, although I found his joker schtick a little irritating after a while. That may have been intentional.
D’Onofrio is the shining, crunchy, fire-ball center that holds many chaotic points together
He has a brilliant spell toward the middle in which he demonstrates that he can be as frightening as Jack Nicholson with sheer application of eyebrow expression.
There are no happy endings in Full Metal Jacket. It gets harder and harder to watch as it also gets harder to turn away from. However, this film should be seen for the believability, the lack of stereotypes, its historical relevance, and the unveering straight eye on painful gray areas.