Jarhead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jarhead Reviews

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January 21, 2016
not that gd but pretty funny
½ December 13, 2015
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.
November 30, 2015
It was sad at the ending
½ November 25, 2015
Solid performances and very realistic feel, although none of the characters are memorable or relatable.
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.
September 30, 2015
Disappointing as a character piece, the war elements are not engaging enough to call this one of the better war dramas.
September 23, 2015
Sam Mendes's worst movie to date
September 17, 2015
Saddam Hussein, the 5th President of Iraq, reigning from 1979 to 2003, is remembered for terrible reasons of which brought about conflict for his nation and unsurprisingly is still doing so in that part of the world. In 1990, in response to Iraq‚??s invasion and annexation of Kuwait, the Gulf War began. From August 1990 to January 1991, Operation Desert Shield brought about the build-up of troops and defence of Saudi Arabia, and with the largest military alliance of nations since WW2, Operation Desert Storm, the combat phase of the war, began and ended within the space of a meagre month. Known as ‚??Operation Iraqi Freedom‚?? to US marines, we all know the real reason for the war was oil, as is every war in that region ever since. And Oscar winning director Sam Mendes tackles the Gulf War in his film Jarhead from the point of view of the marines, who really didn‚??t know the real reason as to why they were really there because the war didn‚??t happen for most of them. And if you didn‚??t know what a jarhead was, the box haircut of the marine‚??s made them so. Like their haircuts, these marines fought in a war that never really grew.

Like a typical film about war, Jarhead is split into two parts, with the first focusing on training, and the second moving the characters into combat zones. Jarhead revolves around Anthony Swofford, a 19-year old who attends Marine Corps training and gets stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1989. As he finds his time at the camp tough, he struggles to make friends and feigns illness to avoid his duties, until Staff Sergeant Sykes takes note of his potential and drafts him into his sniper course. As Iraq invades Kuwait, the marines are deployed there as part of Operation Desert Shield. Eager for combat, the marines are faced with boredom, isolation and paranoia rather than war, catapulting some of them into nervous breakdowns. But, as Operation Desert Storm occurs, war still doesn‚??t arrive for these marines, making Jarhead a gruelling factual account of routines and relationships during a war that only few saw.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as protagonist Anthony Swofford with a hard-lined performance we‚??ve come to now expect of him. He is our protagonist but also just a random marine that doesn‚??t get the camera‚??s special care. We simply watch him in an environment with other marines in a war where there was a lot of bonding time, and Gyllenhaal fills into the atmosphere well, allowing us to learn as much as we do of himself as we do of others. To be honest, all the actors give performances on the same level, making this a very believable story. Swofford‚??s roommate, Peter Sarsgaard‚??s Troy, gives quite a calculating performance where his love for war remains an enigma to us. Jamie Foxx is definitely the right man to command the Gomer Pyle marines, for he does have a tongue and an attitude, but his softer side, something lacking in Full Metal Jacket let‚??s say, adds a dimension to the relationships that Jarhead becomes a genuine depiction of humanity as well as war.

Jarhead is an intense character study not really about politics, as you would have expected, just about marine expeditions. By the end, marine training and routines such as jogging, shooting, hydrating and dehydrating will be drilled into our heads, and as you can see, Jarhead isn‚??t at all that mighty, just authentically represented. This makes Jarhead an original look at war that maintains our interest throughout and drains our desire for combat. From the lack of alcohol, to American football, patriotic war films and marine initiations, the characters are brought together through such banal activities, but these moments are integral in our understanding of how war can corrupt without combat. Jarhead fantastically emphasises the pressures of being in a different land, with only men, suffering from stress about pretty much everything. Boredom is something unheard of in war films, as is the climate, or the paranoia about life at home; therefore Jarhead is unique in its approach to how war can be shown without actual violence. Yes it does have influences, with echoes of Full Metal Jacket‚??s rigorous training, and the slow-burning build-up of Apocalypse Now, but Jarhead is very much a war film on its own, preferring to find the truth through marine relationships rather than marine combat. Rather than experience it ourselves first-hand through the characters, we are shown the effects of it on places, people and through the jarheads‚?? idea of what war is supposed to be like.

Jarhead has to be complimented for being a starkly realistic approach to war. You may be thinking war requires combat and death, and seeing as Jarhead neglects war throughout, the climax is expected to have war in store for us. But you‚??re wrong, Jarhead surprises with a unique conclusion to such a unique film by not even taking one shot and leaving our jarhead protagonists devoid of that usefulness they are meant to embody as overseas protectors. When Troy and Anthony are about to take their first shot, Major Lincoln, a higher power, interrupts them seconds before, and Troy goes berserk, proving war means nothing to the elite, but can psychologically destroy the rest. Jarhead doesn‚??t emphasise this enough, and this scene in particular which was brooding with intensity until it ended in tears. It is though the returning home part that reeks of the most realism. The futility of soldier‚??s is evoked well as they are merely admired by war veterans and neglected by the rest of society, making those words uttered by Troy, ‚??I feel like we count for something,‚?? such a sad statement and a realisation for us that warfare is the start of the end for many of the soldiers that survive it. Their return is a bit brief, and lacks the punch we would have felt if these characters actually felt tragedy, but it depends on the type of war, and the Gulf War lacked raw heartbreak.

Jahead does after all need a more brutal edge to it, not in terms of characters, but in terms of its criticism of war, the customs of training, marine relationships and more. Jarhead is far away from being a cautionary tale against the futility of soldiers; it instead seems to promote war through the way nothing significant ever happens. The Gulf War was the first internationally viewed war from the front line, earning it the nickname the Video Game War, therefore we should feel a worldwide spotlight, but it feels quite the opposite. The marines are recorded, but are censored in their recordings, but rather than politically investigate this further, Jarhead prefers to dedicate more of its time to the marines.

Jarhead is a film with plenty of fascinating moments that can be pulled out for educational use regarding the Gulf War, or purely for entertainment in showing us the reality of war. It is nothing spectacular, for these moments altogether make this film gritty to the core, but bare in terms of that feeling of watching cinema.

The Verdict:

It may be lacking actual warfare and a political edge, but Jarhead makes up for it with a raw investigation of marine mentality.

‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚??‚?? 6/10
½ September 4, 2015
I guess the directing was pretty good, Jake Gyllenhaal as usual does a pretty good job. But other than that I did not find anything redeemable about this movie. I've never appreciated more movies much, this one is almost more so a Boot Camp movie. It was sad, the characters were bad people, and I really didn't care what was going on. After watching a few war movies that have somewhat won me over I had some decent expectations for this. But as I was watching I really could not care less.
½ August 22, 2015
Solidly done war movie with good performances.
August 15, 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".
½ July 6, 2015
It's a good movie and seems to be based on an untold truth about marines. It gave me a new understanding of what US troops are doing out there. All the same, this movie wasn't in my tastes, so I likely won't be watching it again.
July 3, 2015
This would be immensely better if it had some political undertones. It kinda does have some, but not enough to have it be a main theme of the movie. I feel then it would have made the movie have more of an emotional impact. But that's just my opinion, I like political undertones/statements in movies, especially war movies, and I think it makes them better.
½ June 23, 2015
Couldn't get into the book but liked the film.
½ June 12, 2015
A fantastic war film with an interesting and well portrayed story, as well as some beautiful cinematography and great acting. I really enjoyed this film.
June 2, 2015
Directed, shot and acted with an emotion and rawness that is obvious in every scene, "Jarhead" thrives on the hands off way it displays it's characters struggles through the Gulf War and offers a visceral look into the psyche of the modern soldier. It is propelled forward by the interactions between the characters. While it suffers at times to display the character's motivations and mindset, there is not one unnecessary shot or person in this film.
May 31, 2015
Anti military movie. Dark and bleak. Miss this one
May 20, 2015
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)...
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