Jarhead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jarhead Reviews

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½ December 29, 2013
Jarhead may not be perfect, but it is both unique and important in that it has no real political agenda, it's not even about a war. It's a gorgeous film about one man, and how he struggles with himself and the people around him in that setting. It's both emotional and realistic, and grounded by a fantastic performance by Gyllenhaal.
January 30, 2016
Decent. Shows some interesting perspective, but there's too much military cliche and it doesn't push the envelope far enough to be memorable.
½ July 24, 2011
Jarhead is a brutal, raw film about the psychological toll that a grueling war has on its soldiers and the savagery, craziness and heartache they are subject to.
½ December 9, 2015
There have been so many military and war movies made since the beginning of cinema that its hard to sift through all of them to find the good ones in the bunch, or maybe even a diamond in the rough. Jarhead turns out to be one of those movies. I found Jarhead to be interesting not for the action or acting but the film goes more into the day to day lives of guys who are at war. You get a glimpse at what these guys do everyday, and when they are not marching or moving forward in the hot desert, they are simply trying to keep themselves entertained by killing time. The movie is pretty sobering though, especially when one of the soldiers gets a letter from his significant other back home saying that she has been seeing someone else and she is not going to wait for him. You can actually feel the dagger going into the soldiers heart as he tries to make sense of the letter and how that has a domino effect on the emotions on the rest of the platoon. I actually didn't think I was going to like this movie, but it turned out to be pretty good. And Jamie Foxx isn't bad like he usually is.
October 21, 2015
One of the best movies about [post Vietnam] war fighting. There are even a few explosions too if that's what you're after.
June 25, 2007
Disappointing as a character piece, the war elements are not engaging enough to call this one of the better war dramas.
½ August 22, 2015
Solidly done war movie with good performances.
July 24, 2015
For once I can see how it feels to be a marine waiting for a kill, damn I was waiting for a kill myself! I was waiting for war, it felt like the best possible thing in that desert was face time, rifle time and blood time. I totally understand how you can "forget about the politics" and "live the here".
March 7, 2006
Good film on what goes on in the soldier's mind in war
May 8, 2015
Again, desire that the critics were more favorable.. also hope George W saw this - when you are President (actually, maybe Dick Cheney was! - & as bad as George W - or was he...) it is easy to send others to war... (this isn't a review)...
March 4, 2015
The plot of that war movie is nothing new but luckily all performance are good, the musics are really awesome and sometimes it deals about things that other war movie don't.
January 27, 2015
With Sam Mendes directing, Jarhead looks spectacular. Yet, the film lacks a bit of the personal, character driven edge. Overall its a political war film worth a watch.
½ January 18, 2015
Franšois Truffaut claimed that you can't make an anti-war film, as war is fundamentally exciting. Jarhead proves him wrong.
½ January 12, 2015
Jarhead may not be the greatest war film at the time but at the same time I had a hell of a time just seeing actors like Jamie Foxx & Jake Gyllenhaal perform at their best
July 28, 2007
I liked it, I like it because i feel it showed a lot of what probably goes through many soldier's minds while overseas. They battle boredom, each other, and in some ways struggle with their psychological identity if you will.
December 11, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

Sam Mendes has already solidified his place as one of the most impressive directors working today; sparked by his impressive debut in American Beauty, driving it even further with films like Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road. Skyfall was an example of Mendes being meta, taking in the roots of its franchise and creatively fleshing it out for a contemporary audience. Jarhead, an earlier film, shows the director doing the same but this time on the war genre. His appreciation of his predecessors is found erratically on screen; it manages to be the film's best and worst quality.

Jarhead tells a story that film enthusiasts have seen countless times, a fresh face coming into a hard world and his experiences would slowly start to define and shape his life; it sounds very similar to Full Metal Jacket. I do not mind films treading over the same themes because originality is hard to come by nowadays, but what is essential is interesting and effective execution. First of all, the film lacks a special protagonist, why is it essential for us to follow Anthony Swofford? It's a character that seems to take in multiple aspects of iconic war films and because of this there is nothing fresh or exciting qualities found in him, therefore making it difficult to show care for his pain and struggles. If the film decides to become distant with its characters, similarly approached by Malick's The Thin Red Line and Scott's Black Hawk Down, then Jarhead would have probably been more superficial but a much more pleasant experience. Jarhead wants to be profound and thought provoking, but there is simply no point in doing so if the road is too familiar.

As I have said, the film is full of references and in a way it does show how intelligent Sam Mendes is, but the lack of creativity in its usage made the experience difficult to absorb. Mendes was also unable to craft any tense or boiling scenes that would have elevated the film's drama; Jarhead is more of human drama, than it is an tense action flick, therefore friction is needed to keep the audience's interest and the film does have it, but it was poorly handled.

Thankfully the film does at certain moments look great, with Roger Deakins capturing the emptiness of the desert and the burning night that dominates its third act. It may not be Deakins' most inspiring of works but it is without a doubt impressive; it's just sad that other aspects of the production were not up to par with Deakins' contribution. This may actually be one of the most unmemorable musical scores by Thomas Newman. I cannot for the life of me remember one original piece tune or melody from this film; it is easier to recall the classic tunes and themes that the film displays between every couple of scenes.

Jake Gyllenhaal has already proven to me that he is a valuable and committed actor, and that commitment is found in this film, but sadly he is working with a role that is dull and uninspired. It was difficult to appreciate the effort that he brings to the role, as the character's frustrating personality starts to become more apparent as the film goes on. Gyllenhaal is much better playing the softer roles, where their sense of menace or pain is lurking underneath them; bets examples would be Enemy, Nightcrawler, Prisoners, Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac.

Jarhead is a forgettable war film that unfortunately leaves a bad mark on an impressive director's filmography. I doubt this film would grow on audiences later on, as there is very little here that we haven't already chewed on before. I suggest instead to watch the classic films that it references; most notably Full Metal Jacket.
November 10, 2014
Pretty good anti-war film. The most interesting thing about it to me is the way it showed how young guys in the military are conditioned to be blood-thirsty, so much so that when the reality of modern war hits, they are literally gagging to kill people. Unfortunately, while I appreciate the message, the film itself isn't really fun to watch and it kinda gave me a headache, so I can't score it too high.
½ November 6, 2014
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September 15, 2014
Amazing performances in this modern war movie especially from Jake Gyllenhaal who embodies (real life) marine Anthony Swofford, following him through boot camp to his assignment as an elite sniper during Operation Desert Storm. For the most part what this movie portrays is the ultimate boredom, frustration and psychological challenges these soldiers faced, waiting for their moment to "see the pink mist." There are some funny scenes here, some we've seen many times before (boot camp) but the strong cast (Jamie Foxx and Wow that "take the shot" scene in the bunker with Peter Sarsgaard) really gives us some amazing performances.

This is also an absolutely gorgeous movie, I mean the cinematography is breathtaking, sometimes seen through a faulty gas mask or a game of desert football, with flaming oil fields in the night sky, black rain and an oil drenched, drowning horse. Haunting. as was the ending when we see the guys several years later. 9/29/14
September 9, 2014
A funny yet grounding. Shows the effects war can have on a person, even if they haven't seen any combat.
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