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Jarhead [Blu-ray]

Jake Gyllenhaal , Jamie Foxx , Sam Mendes    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   Blu-ray
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 17.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Jarhead [Blu-ray] + The Hurt Locker [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

Product Description

Product Description

Genre: Drama
Rating: PG13
Release Date: 25-NOV-2008
Media Type: Blu-Ray


Based on Anthony Swofford’s 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 it’s not. It’s just the story as it was written, and if you liked the book, you will probably like the movie. If you didn’t, then the movie won’t change your mind.

The movie follows Swofford’s trajectory (played with thoughtful intensity by Jake Gyllenhall) 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 Sasarsgaard) 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 media’s TV cameras), more training, and constant anticipation of the moment to come when they’ll finally get to kill. When the war does come, it moves too fast for Swofford’s sniper team, and the one chance they get at a kill--to do the one thing they’ve 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 doesn’t entirely work as the film needs something more than a literal translation to bring out its full potential. Mendes’ 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not an action movie, and that's ok... Feb. 10 2006
DISCLAIMER: Jarhead is not, repeat NOT, an action movie; if you watch it expecting to see a boatload of action, combat, or lame one-liner's you WILL be disappointed. What you should be expecting to see is a great rendering of what life was like for a US Marine during Desert Storm. The story is unique, the writing and characters and acting are dead-on, the cinematography outstanding and at times surreal, but most importantly it just feels right. This is one of the best movies I saw in 2005 and I recommended it to anyone who's tastes have evolved beyond typical "war" movies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Semper fi March 5 2006
The film 'Jarhead' is based on a book of the same name by by Anthony Swofford; both the book and the film are bound to make some people angry. A Marine sniper (STA) during Desert Storm I in the early 1990s, he recounted his experiences there with vivid emotion, weaving in his experiences of boot camp, adolescence, and civilian life after the Corps in the process. This is now a major motion picture chronicling many aspects of his story, with significant differences.
It was apparent in the book, and carries over to the film that Swofford has a chip on his shoulder - something he'll most likely readily admit. He has a 'bad attitude', and in fact revels in it. One wonders if this is a product of his war experiences, his Marine Corps training, or his upbringing. At one point his mother, who never really liked the idea of her son being in the Marines, but who wouldn't stand in her son's way, said 'I lost my baby boy when you went to war.' She described Swofford as being sweet and gentle prior to that, and angry and unhappy afterwards. One wonders how much of a change is there - if one can take the stories at face value, this is the same boy who had a fist-fight with his father over going in the Corps at the age of 17, and who had Marine Corps decals put on his shirts as a child. One of his drill instructors even gave Swofford what he considered a great compliment - 'you'll be a great killer someday.'
I make the caveat that one might not be able to take all of this at face value, because like many men in this kind of situation, Swofford is likely to exaggerate - making some pieces more dramatic and other pieces less so.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect March 9 2006
I love this movie, and the collector's edition dvd does not disappoint (I have ONE complaint which I'll address in a bit). The film, if you haven't seen it, is a beautifully shot, thought-provoking war film that doesn't feel like a war film. This is not a typical shoot-em-up, blow-em-up war movie. It shows the boredom of daily marine life, waiting to fight without an outlet for all of the aggression they have been so actively cultivating. The extras are great, and the 2-disc is definitely worth the extra money. Jarhead Diaries is an intensely interesting (and often humourous) look behind the scenes. Background and Semper Fi are also very interesting to watch - especially as a Canadian it was great to learn more about the American Marine culture. Now, my complaint: there are no cast commentaries. Sam Mendes does a great job on his, and there is a second commentary by the screenwriter. However, this is such a character-driven film with some incredible performances - it would have been very nice to hear commentary from them (Gyllenhaal, Foxx, Sarsgaard as well as the lesser known actors who are all excellent). I would have given this dvd 5 stars were it not for that omission. The film, direction, writing and acting are all extraordinary. Overall, it is an excellent buy - any film fan should have it in their collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Dec 12 2008
Jarhead, based on the best-selling memoir by former United States Marine Anthony Swofford, recounts his experiences during Desert Storm.

After a brief sequence depicting the brutal humiliation Swofford endured during Boot Camp, as well as his subsequent training as a sniper, his platoon is subsequently deployed to Saudi Arabia. With frequent rousing speeches -- heavily imbued with American propaganda -- the men are eager to see combat and make their first kill.

But they must first play a waiting game, as the film focuses on their interminable boredom and the difficulty in maintaining relationships with wives and girlfriends back home. Nearly six months pass before the war begins which, for Swofford, lasts a mere four days; as he laments, "I never shot my rifle..."

The screenplay by William Broyles Jr. captures Swofford's sardonic tone and shoots through a series of events. But it fails to convey the author's constant fear of attack or his increasing doubt about his chosen role. In fact, the entire story is rather pointless, but that may very well be Swofford's point. However, by not taking a pro-war or anti-Bush platform, the film accomplishes nothing and suffers as a result.

While Jarhead attempts to do for the Gulf War what Platoon did for Vietnam, it has none of the latter's horror, edge or emotion. And the eclectic soundtrack accentuates the film's inability to define itself.

Director Sam Mendes portrays the Marines as rugged but, for the most part, vacuous. More a character study than a chronicle of war, Mendes chills the viewer with images of charred refugees and rains of oil from blazing wells.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Jarhead
Was an excellent movie, not much action but i recommend the movie to anyone that likes a very good drama.
Published 27 days ago by MOVIES
1.0 out of 5 stars not to my taste
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 more
Published 22 months ago by Marlene Eisnor
4.0 out of 5 stars a pleasant surprise (3.5/5)
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
Published on Nov. 9 2007 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars Frickin' Amazing!
This movie blew me away. It is an excellent example of what hollywood can do when they get the right pieces in place. Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2006 by Katsurina
1.0 out of 5 stars AWFULLLLLLLLLLLLLL
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 more
Published on March 11 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary War Classic
Sam Mendes has created a contemporary war classic, in the tradition of ‘Full Metal Jacket’ and ‘Platoon’. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2006 by Jeffrey LeBlanc
1.0 out of 5 stars Febble attempt to make a war movie
When i first saw all the trailers of this splattered on every tv channel a while back i decided to give it a chance. I spent all the movie waiting for somethign to happen. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2006 by mark bjorn jonsson
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