BORN TO KILL.
In 1967, a group of young men arrive at Parris Island, South Carolina for basic training, among them James Davis (Matthew Modine) who quickly gets a nickname, “Joker”… Stanley Kubrick’s first project in seven years is an antiwar movie, which he has done (even better) before. This one is divided into two chapters, the first half dealing with institutional sadism and its consequences, the second half with the horrors of war in Vietnam. The Parris Island story is fascinating and chilling, with a star-making performance by R. Lee Ermey as the drill sergeant, pouring his real-life experiences into that role, but the film as a whole, and its general message, is a little too familiar.
1987-U.S. 116 min. Color. Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford. Novel: Gustav Hasford (“The Short-Timers”). Cinematography: Douglas Milsome. Music: Abigail Mead. Cast: Matthew Modine (James T. “Joker” Davis), Adam Baldwin (“Animal Mother”), Vincent D’Onofrio (Leonard “Gomer Pyle” Lawrence), R. Lee Ermey (Hartman), Dorian Harewood, Arliss Howard.
Trivia: Mead is actually Kubrick’s daughter Vivian. Denzel Washington was allegedly considered for a role.
Quote: “I bet you’re the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around.” (Ermey)
Last word: “Kubrick told me in the early days of production, ‘The person who gets the most rest wins.’ I assumed when he said this that he wanted to be sure I was in bed at reasonable hours and not out partying and then showing up to work with my ass hanging out and blood shot eyes. The fact of the matter was, after 14 hour shooting days you couldn’t wait to get home and get some sleep. I don’t know how Stanley managed because during filming he never seemed to get any rest.” (Modine, First Showing)