Kubrick’s vision of war, specifically represented in the second half of Full Metal Jacket, comes from a universe of extreme shapes and sizes, where slow motion and extreme zooms dominate the visual landscape and blood splashes across the frame like paint on a canvas. Helicopters, burning buildings, even the soldiers themselves (Animal Mother being the best example) contain an artificiality in scope directly in contrast with the film’s first segment. The ending image of shadow soldiers marching across the screen, only illuminated by a fire storm resonating from the structures beyond all the while singing the Mickey Mouse club song, blurs the humanity of the men we’re supposed to see as heroes, endlessly complicating the idea of American heroism and enemy vilification. Kubrick might have made more engaging and pertinent films, but he never made one more brutal than Full Metal Jacket.
Kubrick’s vision of isolation and madness remains remarkably potent, a horrific gaze at brooding guilt and hatred amidst a snow storm of ideas, memories, and nightmares. Because of this push pull between stirring creativity and relentless doubt, The Shining is an unquestioned masterpiece, a horror film consumed by harsh angles, deep spaces, and disintegrating minds. It unravels methodically, like all of Kubrick’s films, but there’s also a painful intimacy hiding underneath the quotable lines and grandiose stylistics, an ax of putrified resentment that potentially infects us all in some way or another.
Jack Torrance’s psychology grows more ambiguous as his actions become more violent, creating a monster both familiar and foreign, someone whose simmering outbursts resemble a collective deja-vu of rage too disturbing to acknowledge fully.