A History of Jarheads

jarheadJarhead is suprisingly not a movie about the gulf war, it’s a movie about a soldier who really doesn’t want to be there. It is about a unit of marines who are ignorant of the politics and aware of one thing only: the desire to shoot someone.

The movie has no heroes, no ‘bad guy vs good guy’ retoric of other movies, no scenes of long periods of waiting for the enemy and definitly no scenes of actions. So really it’s about a bunch of marines who are really bored and really young and specifically the story of one soldier who realises that joining the marines was a bad idea a few minutes after he does it, admitting in a moment of honesty to a news reporter in an Iraqi desert: “I’m 20 years old, and I was dumb enough to sign a contract.”

The movie has some brilliant performances by Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard as well as what I think is Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performance since Donnie Darko. Probably the most appealing thing about the movie is how funny it can be without going for the cheap laugh; especially when the unit is being trained. Sam Mendas who directed American Beauty and Road to Perdition has added another movie to his portfolio, the guy really knows how to create a memorable and classic movie scene.

Bottom Line: 4/5

historyA History of Violence seems like a pretty straight forward story about a small town owner of a diner, Viggo Mortensen, who kills two murderers in self defence as they try to rob the place. But after becoming a local hero and getting some TV face time, a few mobsters come to pay him a visit in case of mistaken identity. Though they seem unconvinced that he is not the man who they think he is, the man who left a bit of a mess before dissapearing, they enter his life and change it forever. So the story is really about the family and not just Mortensen or the mobsters played by Ed Harris and William Hurt.

Bottom Line 3.5/5


  • Thanks for the review. I had mixed feelings about the movie and I admit I even was reluctant to consider reading about it. Now I am more inclined to watching it.

  • I have been waiting for jarhead to come out for a while. I have been reading the book by Anthony Swafford, and i have been enjoying it. In addition to that, my favorite editor, Walter Murch, cut the film, and thus i was interested in seeing it even more, especially after meeting him a week ago. I watched it and i thought is was good and was layered and had an interesting feel to it. Yet many people i have talked to said that they thought they were going to see a war movie, with killing, explosions and fighting. On the contrary this is a film that opens up a new approach to looking at war, getting into the head of a young soldier , thousands of miles away from home, and contemplating life and the decisions he has taken.
    I recommend this film, but don’t be dissapointed if you dont get the usuall dosage of explosions and fighting scenes.

  • This movie has taken all that could be negative about our military and cramed it all linto one sorry excuse for entertainment. I didn’t see one redeeming value expressed. I am ashamed at the way Hollywood treats our warriors, the very ones that gives them the right to express their sorry opinion. During WWII this type of movie would have been considered treason.

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