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Jarhead

DaUnknownAdmin

Captain Casual
Staff member
Administrator
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#1
Jarhead
Genre: Drama / War
Reviewed by: Sam Bear of joecritic.com

Jarhead—the self imposed moniker of the Marines—follows Anthony Swoffard (Jake Gyllenhaal) in his journey from boot camp to duty in Iraq. “Swoff” never really wanted to be a Marine; he was kind of born into it having been a third generation enlistee. Only shortly after getting to know his drill sergeant, Swoffard realizes that enlisting in the Marines might not have been such a great idea. “I'm 20 years old, and I was dumb enough to sign a contract,” he says. Jarhead follows Swoffard from basic training to scout/sniper training, and finally to Iraq. There we witness Swoff and his fellow soldiers go mad with boredom.

“This is our labor: We wait,” notes Swoff. All a soldier can do in the desert is clean their rifle, reread letters from home, masturbate, fight scorpions, hydrate, walk around in the sand, and hydrate some more. Jarhead is unique as a war movie because it doesn’t contain very much war at all. "Four days, four hours, one minute. That was my war," says Swoff, "I never shot my rifle."

Though not a war movie in the same sense as Saving Private Ryan, Jarhead is an absolutely incredible film in that it completely transports its audience into the “action.” Roger Ebert said it best when he wrote, “It is not often that a movie catches exactly what it was like to be this person in this place at this time, but Jarhead does.”

But Jarhead is a war movie. While most war movies deal with what it’s like to be in active combat, this one describes what it’s like for a “killing machine” to be inactive. Jarhead is great because it introduces us to many types of soldiers. Swofford notes that all his buddy Troy (who is going to be kicked out of the Marines two weeks after they return from Iraq and who is played by Peter Sarsgaard) wants is to be in the Corp while all he himself wants is to be out. Jamie Foxx’s Staff Sergeant Sykes is a lifer in the Marines. “I thank God for every day he gives me in the Corps,” he says, to which he follows with a spirited, “Oorah!”

In only his third feature film, wonder kid director Sam Mendes has solidified his spot as one of the best directors working today. It is hard to rank the three films because they are each so different from each other, but Jarhead is perhaps the most universally appealing of the three. In American Beauty he captured the drama in a seemingly normal suburban setting long before Desperate Housewives came along. In Road to Perdition he created, in my mind, one of the greatest gangster movies of all time. And now with Jarhead he’s truly brought the audience into the mind of a soldier during the first Gulf War.

Mendes’ cinematography is beautiful. While William Broyles Jr.’s tremendous script (adapted from Anthony Swoffard’s book) brings us into Swoff’s head, it is really Mendes’ camera work that brings us into his heart. A character that we first see as a misguided youth quickly becomes lovable through Mendes’ eye, even as we see him doing the most horrific things. And though Jarhead isn’t loaded with special effects, the war scenes and the scenes filmed in the burning oil fields look absolutely terrific.

The biggest surprise of Jarhead, however, is Jake Gyllenhaal. There’s always been something inherently childish about his performances, even in his most recent movies, but Jarhead is as much a maturing role in the context of his career as the experience in Iraq was a maturing one for his character. In one decisively powerful scene in which Swoff pulls a gun on his own friend, Gyllenhaal at once made a strong case for the Best Actor Oscar and forever garnered my respect as a critic.


The Bottom Line is that Jarhead is incredible. Broyles’ screenplay provides for a terrific story seen through first person narrative, and Sam Mendes has turned Swofford’s own vision into a beautiful looking movie. Led off by a strong performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, Jarhead has a tremendous cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, and Chris Cooper. The dialogue is terrific, and the narrative is almost poetic, and though this depicts the first Gulf War, we should not forget Swofford’s words that “every war is different, every war is the same.”
 

taezee

graphics designer
DOFCH.COM
#2
this movie could only really be understood by veterans..its not a typical war action movie as in "black hawk down" it really focused on things that are rarely disscused or seen in the media and that is another type of war the solider faces on a daily, the war to hang onto ones sanity.. just think right now, if youre having a bad day or recently thought you had a bad day.. Imagine if you were in a dessert 3000 miles from home in sweltering heat with fifty pounds of gear on.. marching around in the sand..and people are there who want to kill you..you dont really know what they look like nor really understand the politics as to why you are there in the first place , and you just got a letter from home , youre wifey or husband letting you know that they decided not to wait for you to come home and have found someone else ..and youre best friend was killed yesterday by stepping on a landmine .and the reality is you may never see home again, you may die out here in the dessert in some town whos name you cant even pronounce.... hows youre day look now? thats what this movie is about
 

DaUnknownAdmin

Captain Casual
Staff member
Administrator
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#3
If you're expecting to see blood and guts boy are you in for a rude awakening. I actually struggled to stay focused on this movie. Sure there were metaphors a plenty, but its not what I want in a war movie.

"every war is different, every war is the same"

Well Jarhead proved that every war movie is NOT the same. Worth renting but it wasn't worth sitting in the theatre for.
 

Dj_Bliss

DOFCH.COM
DOFCH.COM
#4
i saw the movie,i thought it was pretty good.like u said,its not the typical war movie most people are used to seeing.but it was good nonetheless.and if ur gonna see any jake gyllenhaal movie,i recommend this over brokeback mountain...
 

DJ_Dee_X-Man

DOFCH.COM
DOFCH.COM
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#5
As a jarhead myself, this movie totally suck. I was not at all convinced that this movie was going anywhere 10 minutes in because this movie flat out stunk. A lot of things were Xaggerated and this is not how I want my Marine Corp or it's jarheads potrayed.

DJ DXM :veryangry
 

Angel_Moreno

DOFCH.COM
DOFCH.COM
#6
I agree with DJ DXM. This may be one Marine's experience, but there was more than 92,000 Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and I bet their where more than 92,000 different experiences. Yes there is a lot of hurry up and wait (and sometimes it feels like a lot more wait), and this movie seems to have concentrated on that and exaggerated on a few others.

Friends (who did not serve) told me they liked it and I should check it out. As a "war movie" this one did not do it for me.
 

DJ_Dee_X-Man

DOFCH.COM
DOFCH.COM
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#7
Angel Moreno said:
I agree with DJ DXM. This may be one Marine's experience, but there was more than 92,000 Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and I bet their where more than 92,000 different experiences. Yes there is a lot of hurry up and wait (and sometimes it feels like a lot more wait), and this movie seems to have concentrated on that and exaggerated on a few others.

Friends (who did not serve) told me they liked it and I should check it out. As a "war movie" this one did not do it for me.
Semfer Fi!

DJ DXM :yes:
 

DaUnknownAdmin

Captain Casual
Staff member
Administrator
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#8
Hey guys thanks for commenting on the movie. Personally I thought the first 5-10 of the movie was a total rip from Full Metal Jacket, which urked me since that's my favorite war movie.
 

DJ_Dee_X-Man

DOFCH.COM
DOFCH.COM
Freestyle.FM Dee Jays
#9
Rafael said:
Hey guys thanks for commenting on the movie. Personally I thought the first 5-10 of the movie was a total rip from Full Metal Jacket, which urked me since that's my favorite war movie.

Full Metal Jacket is da sh8t! I would have hated to go through Marine Corp bootcamp back during that time. It was real bad I heard back in the day. And I'm not just referring to the war, I'm mostly referring to the bootcamp.

DJ DXM :no:
 

taezee

graphics designer
DOFCH.COM
#10
boot camp for me was just that hard!! back in 84" i served as a naval corpsman or a "doc" to the jarheads from 1984 to 1990, (got out a month before desert storm started...so i got to watch it on CNN instead of running into a foxhole for cover) it was especially hard for me because I could not stop from cracking jokes even when the drill sargent was in my face screaming "was that you Rosario?" so i was the puerto rican version of "private joker" in full metal jacket..ass beatings were daily , and almost every evening while everyone got to write notes home and relax , i was sent to a M.A.S.H. unit "Make A Solider Hurt training" which was basically a series of excercise drills done with a rifle in hand ,with no other purpose then to make you fall on your knees and puke....for being a wiseass or a fuck up during the regular taining during the day..I understand now boot camp is all "kid gloves" with political correctness in the program now and its about four weeks shorter then back then .. how you can expect a "killing machine' to come out of that is beyond me
 
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