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Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this critically acclaimed, brilliantly unconventional war story from Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes. Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Swoff (Gyllenhaal) from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, where he sports a sniper rifle through Middle East deserts that provide no cover from the heat or Iraqi soldiers. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don’t understand against an enemy they can’t see for a cause they don’t fully grasp.
Based on Anthony Swoffords excellent memoir about his experiences as a Marine Sniper in Gulf War I, Jarhead is a war movie in which the waiting is a far greater factor upon the characters than the war itself, and the build up to combat is more drama than what combat is depicted. To some viewers hoping for typical movie action, this will seem like a cruel joke. But its not. Its just the story as it was written, and if you liked the book, you will probably like the movie. If you didnt, then the movie wont change your mind.
The movie follows the trajectory of Swofford (played with thoughtful intensity by Jake Gyllenhaal) from wayward Marine recruit (he joined because he "got lost on the way to college") to skilled Marine sniper, and on into the desert in preparation for the attack on Iraq. No-nonsense, Marine-for-life Staff Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx), the man who recruited Swofford and his spotter Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) into the sniper team, leads them in training, and in waiting where their lives are dominated by endless tension, pointless exercises in absurdity (like playing football in the scorching heat of the desert in their gas masks so it will look better for the medias TV cameras), more training, and constant anticipation of the moment to come when theyll finally get to kill. When the war does come, it moves too fast for Swoffords sniper team, and the one chance they get at a kill--to do the one thing theyve trained so hard and waited so long for--eludes them, leaving them to wonder what was the point of all they had endured.
As directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), the movie remains very loyal to the language and vision of the book, but it doesnt entirely work as the film needs something more than a literal translation to bring out its full potential. Mendess stark and, at times, apocalyptic visuals add a lot and strike the right tone: wide shots of inky-black oil raining down on the vast, empty desert from flaming oil wells contrasted with close-ups of crude-soaked faces struggling through the mire vividly bring to life the meaning of the tagline "welcome to the suck." But much of the second half of the movie will probably leave some viewers feeling disappointed in the cinematic experience, while others might appreciate its microcosmic depiction of modern chaos and aimlessness. Jarhead is one of those examples where the book is better than the movie, but not for lack of trying. --Dan Vancini --This text refers to the DVD edition.
Was an excellent movie, not much action but i recommend the movie to anyone that likes a very good drama.Published 14 months ago by MOVIES
I was surprised how vulgar the movie was and very dissippointed. If this is what soldiers are like then keep it to themselves, cause I felt bad they were shown in this light. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2012 by Marlene Eisnor
i had no interest in seeing jar head prior to watching it.judging by
all the previews,i thought it would be just another boring war movie,at
best. Read more
This movie blew me away. It is an excellent example of what hollywood can do when they get the right pieces in place. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2006 by Katsurina
Oh my god, this is the most borring and pathetic war movie I have ever seen. Poor Story, Poor acting (from most of the guys), poor action. Read morePublished on March 11 2006
Sam Mendes has created a contemporary war classic, in the tradition of ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and ‘Platoon’. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2006 by Jeffrey LeBlanc