Saturday, November 05, 2005

film - Jarhead

Based on the recent book of the same name, this is the other Gulf War film, after Three Kings, and it's vastly inferior.

As the good guys drive to camp in Saudi Arabia, one of them comments on how bogus the war is and that it's really about protecting the oil. And he quips about how the US armed Saddam Hussein. Despite this brief scene, the film doesn't come across as being anti-war.

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While this film is based on actual memoirs, there's no plot and you get a sense that you've seen it all before:
*the typically brutal drill sargeant at boot camp
*the harrowing training
*the usual male-bonding military rituals
*the lowest-common denominator language and interests of the restless marines, awaiting action in the gulf.

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I kept on waiting for the story to unfold with some items of interest. Instead, this film is a collection of observations. Witness the bulletin board in the camp with, plastered with photos of women who have left their soldier men for other men (collectively known as "Jody"), with warnings and insults scrawled on the photos. I didn't realize that the metal drums that collect latrine waste are filled with fuel and burned. The scene where they stumble across a highway filled with hundreds of bomb-destroyed, charred vehicles with carbonized bodies, is jarring.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the main character, Tony Swofford while Jamie Foxx stars his leader, Sgt Sykes. The acting is all right without anyone being particularly outstanding.

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I really wanted this film to go places, but it just doesn't have much of a purpose.

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