Full Metal Jacket vs the Things They Carried

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I’m going to show you a short clip from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” directed by Stanley Kubart, the guy Mr. MacBride’s brother mentioned yesterday in the LMC. In this scene, this group of American soldiers finally found and wounded the sniper that had already killed 3 of their men. One of which is Joker’s, the protagonist’s, best friend, Cowboy.

In the scene we just watched, the sniper was wounded, and Baldwin wanted to leave the sniper to rot, but Joker kills her instead. This leads the audience wonder: “Did Joker kill her because he wanted to end her misery, or did he kill her out of frustration and as way of revenge for his friend, Cowboy?” The significance isn’t in the answer, but in the question itself. The fact that this movie makes you doubt Joker’s motives shows that this is a true war story. There is no moral in Full Metal Jacket. There are no good guys and bad guys, and there isn’t a clear line drawn between justice and evil. You don’t feel hatred towards the Viet Cong sniper, and you don’t have undying support the American soldiers. It’s different from all the other cliché, patriotic war movies. Like Tim O’Brien writes “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie.” No one would argue what Joker did was a “model of proper human behavior”, because no one knows if he killed the sniper out of sympathy or to fulfill his lust for vengeance. Baldwin wanted to do what “men have always done”; he wanted to let the sniper feel the amount of pain and sorrow he feels; he wanted her to die a slow, painful death, he wanted revenge. The ending doesn’t uplift you, and the situation the...
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