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by Saida Oliver, Women's Life editor

 


The film is based on the 2003 book by former marine Anthony Swofford, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who served in Desert Storm. Screen Writer William Broyles, Jr. and Director Sam Mendes portray the war from the point of view of a marine who never pulled a trigger against the enemy. The audience did, on the other hand, see the marine and his comrades shoot their guns a lot—at targets.

The marines, led by Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx), awaited combat in the United States and Iraq by repeating drills to keep the soldiers prepared for war. The men seemed as if they were going to go crazy, not from the negative effects of war, but from not being able to unleash their killing and fury.

Sent to Saudia Arabia in 1989 as part of Operation Desert Shield, the marines are still not deployed into a combat zone as other movies might depict. They are, instead, stuck in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Since they can’t fight, they drink, cause a bit of trouble, worry about their girlfriends and wives staying faithful, and pummel each other.

Director Mendes does an awesome job bringing the film a picturesque style, rather then the gritty, in- your-face-style of, say Saving Private Ryan. The cast is solid. Gyllenhaal remarkably transforms himself into Swofford, a type of character new to his repertoire which has so far been superheroes or feminine men. He portrayed Swofford’s mental anguish in subtle ways, constantly rubbing his head, always looking lost, confused, and upset, simultaneously.

Foxx’s character provides some much-needed laughs. His swagger and loyalty to his job is consistent throughout the film.

Overall, Jarhead is no Full Metal Jacket or Three Kings, but it is a different angle on the American war movie and a different experience of war for most of the audience.
 
 
 

 

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