Jarhead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jarhead Reviews

Top Critic
Ben Walters
Time Out
February 9, 2006
The film's strong suit is vagueness, presenting combat as a semi-surreal state of ignorant expectation and dislocated experience: these warriors loll in the desert awaiting action or trying to make sense of its consequences.
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Ken Tucker
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 9, 2005
Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
December 6, 2005
Screenwriter William Broyles, Jr., a former Vietnam pilot and Newsweek editor, connects reasonably well with the material, but American Beauty director Sam Mendes has a tendency to smooth out the rough edges, and the film goes flat as month-old soda.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
November 7, 2005
This is a very strong film with really good performances.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
November 4, 2005
What's so good about the movie is Gyllenhaal's refusal to show off; he doesn't seem jealous of the camera's attention when it goes to others and is content, for long stretches, to serve simply as a prism though which other young men can be observed.
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
November 4, 2005
Director Sam Mendes' third screen outing pretty well nails Swofford's tone, which was mordant without being disrespectful, and, in fact, is begrudgingly reverent of the Corps.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 4, 2005
Jarhead makes its points less obviously than most war films, and with more brains than blood.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
November 4, 2005
The best war movies -- and this one, despite its being overlong and repetitive, is among them -- hold that men fight (or in this case, are ready to fight) not for causes, but to survive and to help their comrades do the same.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 4, 2005
Jarhead is often a film about boredom, but it's never boring; full of unexpected touches and detailed character turns.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 4, 2005
The invigorating thing about Jarhead is it makes us encounter the truth in its undigested form.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
November 4, 2005
As hard as the actors work, Jarhead feels false right down to its seductive visuals.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 4, 2005
Gyllenhaal is the heart and soul of a darkly funny and ferociously intense movie that sets its sights on soldiers under the gun of doing nothing.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 4, 2005
Although the picture suffers a narrative letdown in the third act that leaves its central characters -- and, alas, its audience -- in the muck of anticlimax, Jarhead has moments of real glory.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 4, 2005
Jarhead can't shoot its way out of its own cliches.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 4, 2005
The movie is so good you wish it were even better, particularly in its characterizations.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 4, 2005
Do I quibble over details? Details are all the movie offers.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
November 4, 2005
The movie has some of the washed-out look of David O. Russell's excellent Three Kings, but none of the edge.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 4, 2005
The people you feel most badly for in Jarhead are not the men played by these talented actors, but the marketing department at Universal Pictures, saddled with the impossible task of selling a war movie that doesn't contain any actual war in it.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
November 4, 2005
I dare anyone to watch this bold exercise in postponed gratification and not come away with a new, disturbed sense of the genre.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 4, 2005
A war picture that, trying to pass off fidelity to the book as objectivity, sacrifices any voice of its own, and ends up not knowing what to think.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 4, 2005
Nicely acted, beautifully shot and pretty much devoid of action and context, Jarhead has to be considered one of the year's biggest failures, simply because so much talent went into a film so empty.
| Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 4, 2005
In the end, Jarhead is more of a training exercise than a meaningful mission, one that hits some targets without drawing any blood.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 4, 2005
It's not easy to make an interesting movie about men who are bored, and Jarhead can't quite rise to the challenge.
| Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 4, 2005
Jarhead does an impressive job of articulating the weird, often volatile convergence of the antisocial with the utterly loyal that seems to be the M.O. of a lot of men not yet grown.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
November 4, 2005
As a study of one man's war experience, Jarhead has its moments. But if you want a great movie about the Gulf War, rent David O. Russell's Three Kings.
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 4, 2005
The film evokes Three Kings, Full Metal Jacket, Catch-22, and other touchstones of the genre without ever establishing its own identity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
November 3, 2005
Jarhead feels detached, and the internal turmoil of its protagonist (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) lacks urgency -- even with first-person narration to fill in some of the gaps.
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 3, 2005
It's a good thing Jarhead features strong acting; otherwise the uneven ratio of exposition to action would become unbearable.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
November 3, 2005
[A] sweltering and pristine portrait of one Marine's experience of the first Persian Gulf war.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
November 3, 2005
Jarhead will leave many viewers satisfied and others scratching their heads. But everybody will be asking questions.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 3, 2005
Jarhead is a movie that walks up to some of the most urgent and painful issues of our present circumstance, clears its throat loudly and says nothing.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
November 3, 2005
As much as we intellectually admire Jarhead, it's a cold film that only sporadically makes the kind of emotional connection it's after.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 3, 2005
Jarhead is a minimalist epic -- a grunt's eye view of the 1991 Persian Gulf War that, in more ways than one, never lifts its gaze higher.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 3, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Allison Benedikt
Chicago Tribune
November 3, 2005
A good, not great movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
November 3, 2005
Only a first-rate cast -- headed by Jake Gyllenhaal, and made memorable by the performances of Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard -- saves Jarhead from looking like a dead duck, covered in oil.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 3, 2005
It's the cinematic equivalent of marching in circles.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 3, 2005
While Jarhead, based on Anthony Swofford's best seller about his modern-day experiences in the Marines, has its moments, it never quite attains its loftiest goals.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
November 3, 2005
An impeccably well-made piece of Oscar bait that tells us almost nothing we haven't heard before about the dejection and disillusionment of men in war.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 2, 2005
Watching Jarhead, these unvarnished snapshots of what can really happen among U.S. combat troops all but slap you with their observational force.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
November 1, 2005
The movie is oppressively heavy even when mischievously lighthearted.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 1, 2005
Jarhead is compelling in the way it presents a new facet of a genre that some would argue was mined out long ago.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
November 1, 2005
Jarhead has an oddly amorphous and inconclusive feeling to it.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
October 31, 2005
Sam Mendes' third feature has numerous arresting moments but never achieves a confident, consistent or sufficiently audacious tone.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
October 28, 2005
The filmmakers clearly wanted to avoid the politics surrounding the first Gulf War even as they pay tribute to the Marines, the jarheads, who went to Saudi Arabia to fight. But the result is a movie rife with ambivalence.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 26, 2005
In all respects, Jarhead is straight from the horse's mouth. See it.