HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mighty Wind, A
Man at the Top
Guru the Mad Monk
Jezebel
Monos
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
   
 
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jarhead The Waiting GameBuy this film here.
Year: 2005
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Jamie Foxx, Brian Geraghty, Jacob Vargas, Laz Alonso, Chris Cooper, Dennis Haysbert, Ivan Fenyo, Peter Gail, Jamie Martz, Scott MacDonald, Evan Jones, John Krasinski, Brianne Davis, Marty Papazian
Genre: War, Biopic
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) was not so sure he made such a great move when he joined the Marines, especially after the verbal and at times physical abuse he received from his superiors during his basic training. After that was over, it was a matter of waiting for the call to arms, but while he did that there was a lot of military exercises at his new camp to undergo, and a lot of soul searching about his life choices and the family and girlfriend he had left behind. He wasn't so bothered about his Vietnam veteran father or his deadbeat mother, but he did begin to brood over his girl - would the chance to kill someone alleviate his woes?

A war movie with hardly any war, Jarhead was another Iraq War movie to fail to capture the interest of most of the public when it was initially released, as with pretty much all of the works out of Hollywood based on Middle Eastern conflicts. But there is an audience for this type of thing, and the fact that this one concentrated on the first Gulf War should have given it a measure of recent historical interest. At least we could weigh up the differences between the first one and the second, but actually Sam Mendes' film, based on the real life experiences of Anthony Swofford's time as a Marine, almost went out of its way not to engage in any political issues which you might have thought would have inevitably been brought up.

Instead it's the inner life of Swofford which informs the drama, and much of that is based in deep seated frustration. Perhaps some of that frustration stemmed from Mendes facing up to the fact that much of his film had echoes of previous war movies, and Gyllenhaal comes across as an updated Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket for the early stages at least: we even see the troops being entertained with a screening of Apocalypse Now as if to underline similarities. Eventually Jarhead becomes its own entity, but it takes an awfully long time, with its military humour and harsh lessons to be learned all in the service of the country they're supposed to be defending - which is not America, or so they are told.

No, it's Kuwait they're meant to be liberating from Iraq, and if you're hoping for a goodly amount of satirical jabs at the Western oil business pressurising the United States into looking after their interests, then you'll leave disappointed, particularly as what Swoff wishes most is kill someone. He has been trained as a sniper, and that's what he wants to do, but after the Iraqis invade and he and his unit are shipped out to Saudi Arabia, a long existence of utter boredom awaits while they are given nothing to do. Just about every scene from then on is set in the unending desert, and if the unit were crazy before, here they are sent completely round the bend as their presence and little else is all that is required from them.

Swoff is surrounded by colourful characters which helps in identifying them, as all the cast playing the soldiers wear uniform and have the same haircut, so Peter Sarsgaard plays Gyllenhaal's right hand man, also eager to get some killing done, and Jamie Foxx at his most charismatic plays their sergeant, a man who thrives on simply existing in the army no matter what he is called upon to do. We know how the war affects them because after a while the film starts to struggle to find activity for them, even as they move into Kuwait, and the dreaded speeches start, but the film does make one political point of sorts. That is that with the conflict being pursued by button pushers, all that is left for the man on the ground to pick up the pieces and survey the bomb damage, as in one memorable scene where the Marines encounter a convoy of refugees reduced to charred corpses by American weapons. Mendes does offer a unity of style and a few arresting images emerge from that, but war enthusiasts are surely to appreciate this the most, if they don't mind that essential inaction. Music by Thomas Newman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2454 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: