Master of Madness | Letters | Chicago Reader

Master of Madness 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

To the editors:

Re: Henry Sheehan's July 3 review of Full Metal Jacket.

This is not in response to the review of the film itself, as I have not seen it, but to what he says in it. I don't know if Henry Sheehan is playing the ultimate devil's advocate or simply naive a la Reagan. Kubrick visions 2001 as a "blissful future"? The Holocaust at the end of Dr. Strangelove an "amusingly apt solution to the world's problems"? Has Mr. Sheehan ever heard of irony or sarcasm? I suppose if one considers art's full potential as being realized in a Norman Rockwell print then you could agree with Mr. Sheehan's concept of its value. Who said art should be nice? I suppose Sheehan would agree that by banning Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee from school libraries the genocide of the American Indian would not have occurred. A world beset by sin and despair is where art is needed most. If one can understand the "screaming mask of pain and horror" in Munch's The Scream and relate it to the film one must be able to understand the functional ability of art to reflect society and personality. Picasso's Guernica doesn't implicate Picasso but the fact that he painted it shows he is not wiping his hands of the horrors of war. Now, I have not seen Full Metal Jacket (I was actually disappointed when I heard his latest was a " 'Nam flick") and I don't consider Kubrick an analytical or necessarily a politically oriented filmmaker. But, Kubrick's use of the film medium pulls the viewer into a world of madness whether it be Humbert Humbert in Lolita, Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining, Alex in A Clockwork Orange, the armed forces in Dr. Strangelove, or HAL in 2001. I don't think Kubrick makes specific social comment as much as he explores the concept of madness and chaos. His ability to switch genres and depict madness in each is his forte.

If Vietnam wasn't "the inevitable outgrowth of American culture, the consequence of the innate human destructiveness that is glorified and refined by the U.S. military" then what was it? Maybe Mr. Sheehan should stick to reviewing John Hughes's films.

Jonathan Dumont

W. Waveland

PS: When Mr. Sheehan refers to tracking minicam shots I think he means Stedicam shots.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bernhardt/Hamlet Goodman Theatre
September 14
Performing Arts
Oslo Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
September 10

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories