It's no secret that I'm a big fan of movies and novels that involve the military. However, Jarhead falls quite short of the mark on all counts.

This film stars Jamie Foxx as the Staff Sergeant charged with training a squad of Marine scout snipers. Predictably, he is the wise man that yells in the recruit's faces and orders the pushups. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Anthony Swofford, the new recruit to the squad.

After the boot camp scenes, we find ourselves in Kuwait. It is the opening days of the first Gulf War. We see the difficulties of operations in a 112 degree desert.

Jarhead simultaneously takes up the themes of Marine camraderie, the senselessness of war, fighting for a cause you not only don't believe in, but you don't understand, and losing your mind on the battlefield. Superimposed on top of this is the theme of even though you leave the war and the killing, it doesn't leave you.

Somewhere in the over two hours of film might have been a film worth watching. Unfortunately, it was quite elusive. The long extended desert scenes, with no dialogue, only prolong the boringness of the whole affair. OK, I get that they're marching along, we don't need to show every sand dune on the Arabian peninsula!

The constant grittiness of the film does nothing to enhance it either. Most of it is there for shock value anyway, and does little to advance the plot or characters.

The film doesn't even come together at the end. Were they trying to carry through the war is senseless theme? It leaves me feeling that Jarhead is equally senseless too.

In case you're wondering, a jarhead refers to a Marine's head with their very close hair cut. It also implies an empty head without a brain. I'll use it in a sentence: you'd have to be a jarhead to think that this was a good film.

Overall Grade: D-


Anonymous said...

Anybody who doesn't LOVE this movie does not support the troops and hates America.

Why do you HATE America?

Digital Doc said...

This rather narrow minded. I reviewed the film only, and not the war, President Bush, or the Marines.