More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.29

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look31.94%
Average: 27.08%
Pretty Bad: 12.5%
Total Crap: 11.81%

14 reviews, 60 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Better Days by Jay Seaver

Scandalous: The True Story of the National Enquirer by Rob Gonsalves

Paradise Hills by Rob Gonsalves

3 from Hell by Rob Gonsalves

Dolemite Is My Name by Rob Gonsalves

My Dear Liar by Jay Seaver

Truth, The (2019) by Jay Seaver

Primal (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

Last Christmas by Peter Sobczynski

Midway (2019) by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed


Jarhead
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Bore Is Hell"
2 stars

I loved 'American Beauty,' and I liked 'Road to Perdition.' However, I was underwhelmed by 'Jarhead,' an aimless and unsatisfying Gulf War chronicle from director Sam Mendes, which seems destined to live by its oft-repeated maxim of “Welcome to the suck.”

Based on his best-selling 2003 memoir, the film follows Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he joins the Scout Sniper unit of the Marines in Operation Desert Storm. Though him and his fellow soldiers have been primed for battle, true combat manages to elude them as they patrol the desert, and as their primary purpose begins to fade from sight, so does their tolerance for military service.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a satisfactory job of portraying Swofford as the clever recruit who grows callous to the notion of combat. He initially brings a droll sense of humor to his occasional narration, but soon enough, the inner dialogue turns from droll to dull as the story, and commentary, progresses. Swofford’s closest colleague, Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), begins to develop into an interesting person, only for the film to focus back to ‘Swoff.’ Jamie Foxx tactfully hams it up as Swofford’s staff sergeant, while Chris Cooper goes through the paces with his brief appearances as a lieutenant colonel who initially gives a pep rally to the new arrivals and later on sends Swofford and Troy on a climactic mission.

Squads of soldiers are shown getting revved up for combat by watching Apocalypse Now or The Deer Hunter. Yet, as a passing helicopter plays a ‘60s tune, they complain about how they don’t get their own music. Just as wars may be compared and contrasted, so will war films. Jarhead is neither graphic, like Saving Private Ryan, nor poetic, like The Thin Red Line. The problem is, Jarhead isn’t much one thing or another. The film doesn’t even bother to take up the current habit of drawing parallels to the current Iraqi conflict. By no means is a war film obligated to become a carnage-packed action extravaganza.

However, a story about men who end up with no role in their war hardly merits a film adaptation, one that likely won’t strike the proper chord about the state of soldiers living in perpetual limbo. Jarhead stumbles because it lacks its own purpose, its own tone, its own motives that would be necessary to achieve any adequate insight on their situation. Being his third feature, Mendes does nothing to make his film a unique contribution to either the war movie subgenre or his career. Despite the sporadic sardonic touches, William Broyles Jr. adapts the events faithfully and contributes little more. The most noteworthy aspect would be Roger Deakins’ stark cinematography, from the endless deserts to the flaming oil wells.

It’s a shame that this is the rare movie that so accurately reflects the experiences on-screen. At first, it seems that things are going well, but just as it dawns on the Marines, it soon becomes apparent to the viewer that there really is no purpose after all. Lacking worthwhile combat and its own unique tone, the exceptionally bland 'Jarhead' may very well qualify for the title of Best Anti-War-Movie Movie.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13464&reviewer=409
originally posted: 11/11/05 19:17:41
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell good acting good production values dull as dishwater 2 stars
6/22/10 Aaron Two of my grandparents and my uncle were mariens, in every way this movie is total garbage 1 stars
12/19/09 Jeff Wilder Good not great. Pacing off. But characters well defined. 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* A straight foward movie about how desert shield/storm really was. I wanted more sniping!!!! 4 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
6/12/08 PAUL SHORTT AS MUCH AS IT SEEKS TO BREAK NEW GROUND, IT FEELS CALCULATED 1 stars
4/25/08 Karrie Millheim I thought it was a good story and the guys are hot 4 stars
4/22/08 mr.mike Did they think being a marine would be a picnic? 3 stars
8/06/07 Hello Stranger takes another view on war. and it works. a bit tedious though 4 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Good picture of the horrors of war, but it was supposed to be a movie. 3 stars
12/14/06 Phil M. Aficionado Really compelling as a "slice of life as war" portrayal; excellent production values, too 4 stars
11/05/06 A Concerned Citizen It's the one war film that describes the war in it's entirety, similar to Full Metal Jacket 5 stars
11/02/06 Patsyc Not as good as I thought it would be. It was interesting to see the life of a marine there 3 stars
10/25/06 Drew G Great movie, not sure what type of people the haters are... 5 stars
10/13/06 TJ Absolutely sucked. I saw it last night for the first time. A total waste.Don't bother! 1 stars
9/21/06 Chris Hately Great film. Oh, and Bill Hicks is the best comedian of our times. 4 stars
9/14/06 Mara Frost Good movie, Jake Gyllenhaal gives the best performance of his career 4 stars
9/12/06 matt pretty funny, good visuals 4 stars
5/28/06 daveyt story about tedium and pointlessness, told likewise. Jake was good though 3 stars
4/27/06 jana newton I loved this movie 5 stars
4/27/06 Indrid Cold I guess the Gulf War was boring and pointless, but so is the movie about it. 3 stars
4/25/06 Ken Muir Too much needless profanity. Vacuous content. 1 stars
4/24/06 Ry no story.... 2 stars
4/17/06 Jung Texican Decent documentary maybe, instead a film made hollow by its empty story 2 stars
3/24/06 mike waste of time, movie about garbage and marines being gay! not cool at all 1 stars
3/09/06 Wiseman Watch Saving Private ryan instead, I really regret I bought this movie. 1 stars
3/08/06 Katie Interesting look at the life of soldiers. 3 stars
2/06/06 gladys it was a waste of time..boring!! 1 stars
1/13/06 cooler mendes was always overrated and this proves it 1 stars
1/08/06 Bob Great performances, some fantastic imagery and a nice new take on war. 5 stars
12/11/05 J.K. Claire The best movie ever about war and mind. 5 stars
12/08/05 Sharon This movie was degrading to the military. My husband is a veteran and was appalled. 1 stars
12/05/05 B. McDaniel This film sucked - Don't bother 2 stars
11/30/05 M. Ritter, Marine Wife Marines sacrifice so much for us, what a slap in the face to Marines and their wives! 1 stars
11/29/05 Phlyer2 Discredits Brave Martines-Shameful! 1 stars
11/28/05 Elizabeth S Absolutely riveting, and Saarsgard should get a supporting nom. 5 stars
11/25/05 baseball-nut Not a bad movie....I'd suggest you wait and rent it at Blockbuster! 3 stars
11/24/05 Dustin Geist It was good half way through but after about half way the interesting just dropped. 1 stars
11/23/05 Jessica Holland I absolutely loved this movie, i think it is great for people to see!!!! 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Cooper and Foxx are fantastic. Sarsgaard great as usual. Screenplay blows. 4 stars
11/21/05 Brianna Schroeter I came out wondering what it was I missed. I'm not sure if I did. It's just too easy. 3 stars
11/18/05 Judy it's really good, just not for those people that only go to watch people get blown up. 4 stars
11/17/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Slow and Bloody Boring 1 stars
11/14/05 Lanie Richardson it was different, but definitely worth a trip to the theater. 4 stars
11/13/05 Todd a very different kind of war movie, but well worth a look. 5 stars
11/12/05 "K" More Anti-American BS from the director of the highly anti-American "American Beauty" 1 stars
11/11/05 wes excellent view of what marine life is actually like... a little exaggerated at times 5 stars
11/10/05 Sean COMPLETE PILE OF CRAP 1 stars
11/09/05 Linden Groves not for friends of W 4 stars
11/08/05 Jeff Hella fucking good 5 stars
11/07/05 jcjs so so; ain't no DeerHunter, Apacolypse, Platoon, Born on 4th.pretty tame barely 'WorthALook 4 stars
11/07/05 bentable zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
11/07/05 KingNeutron Disturbing and thought-provoking. 4 stars
11/07/05 Eric Weisman,M.D. I'm surprised this one played in our local theater, I loved it. 5 stars
11/07/05 Zigga This movie was tight man! don't watch it if your ONLY expecting a Blackhawk down paprt 2 5 stars
11/07/05 Naka Nope. 2 stars
11/06/05 othree Prob a good book someone made 2 movie, funny, kinda late gettin ready 4 war their never in 4 stars
11/06/05 Marine Family This movie was awful! It portrayed Marines as idiots who had no purpose nor conviction. 1 stars
11/06/05 jeff no plot, good acting, dont really c the point of this movie!! i recommend it 4 stars
11/05/05 John Gordon What a let down, clearly written by someone who hated the Marines, Great for anit war movem 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  04-Nov-2005 (R)
  DVD: 07-Mar-2006

UK
  13-Jan-2006 (15)

Australia
  09-Feb-2006




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast