Full Metal Jacket (1987) – thoughts of a UK Script Doctor

I’ve blogged about Full Metal Jacket before, probably, more than once. As a script writer for hire, UK script consultant, and Script Doctor UK  it’s fair to say that I think this film, alongside Scorsese’s Goodfellas, is close to being what I think is a flawless piece of cinema.

As every year passes since Kubrick’s death in 1999 his body of work continues to grow, and his films are very much still with us, and in some cases even more relevant than when they were first released.

I still think Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece and I think it might grow beyond all the other films – there is something in it, which is still yet to be discovered. It’s the film Kubrick conspiracy theorists have the most fun with. What’s hidden in each scene?

Full Metal Jacket has a level of cynicism that is beautiful. A plot and structure that challenges audiences to think. And characters, that are perfectly realised both humanised and dehumanised.

Technically it’s flawless, breathtaking and masterly.

And it’s very, very funny…

Kubrick, saw an America that would bomb the Middle East back to the stone age and elect Trump long before the people of America did. He expected idiots to be in charge, and was rarely disappointed.

The screenplay is on the money, with some glorious and very authentic dialogue. The final scene is one of my favourites in cinema, and the voice over of Matthew Modine’s Private Joker is simple, lovely, and for Kubrick – almost optimistic:

Private Joker: [voice-over] My thoughts drift back to erect nipple wet dreams about Mary Jane Rottencrotch and the Great Homecoming Fuck Fantasy. I am so happy that I am alive, in one piece and short. I’m in a world of shit… yes. …But I am alive. …And I am not afraid.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on matcoop23@yahoo.co.uk or hire him on Peopleperhour