Jarhead (2005)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama, War


Jarhead (2005) Poster

A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.

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7/10
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  • Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead (2005)
  • son Gabriel
  • Sam Mendes in Jarhead (2005)
  • Sam Mendes and Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead (2005)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard in Jarhead (2005)
  • Anthony Swofford at an event for Jarhead (2005)

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24 October 2005 | Juansmith
7
| Pleasantly surprising
I saw a promotional screening of the film, sponsored by my university. Following the screening was an audience Q&A with the author (and main character), Tony Swofford.

And it was no surprise that the very first question from the audience was, quite ambiguously, "Do you support the military?" When Swofford dismissed the question as too broad and complex to be answered with a simple yes or no, the inquirer followed up with, "Well, do you support the war?" Swofford dismissed this even more readily.

To me, this was perfectly representative of how the film handled its potential political implications.

As Troy says early on in the film, "To hell with politics. We're here now." And that's essentially how the movie went.

It bypasses the soapbox and simply tells you how it was, from the perspective of a single soldier. And while the opening boot camp scenes may seem like Full Metal Jacket Lite, the rest of the film is truly unique.

Sam Mendes directs with his usual brilliance, showing once again his affinity for bright, vivid color, even in the largely monochromatic desert.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives an excellent performance as Anthony Swofford, complemented by the able talents of Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard.

The film's only real flaw is that, like the war on which it was based, it's pretty slow, and not a lot really happens.

In the strictest sense, I would have a hard time even classifying this as a war film, and it's certainly not a deliberately political film.

But in its own way, it tells an intense, personal story. Beyond that, you're simply left to make your own judgments.

7/10

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