Jarhead (2005)

Jarhead (2005)
  • Time: 123 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama | War
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard


Anthony “Swoff” Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it’s over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go?

One comment

  • First of all I’m not a massive fan of war films. Sure I loved Saving Private Ryan and Full Metal Jacket etc. but honestly films like Pearl Harbour and Black Hawk Down have never seemed appealing to me personally, no idea why. The only reason I watched Jarhead was because of a recommendation from a friend and it far exceeded my expectations.

    This is not an action film. There are bits that have small action elements to them but Jarhead is not full of explosions and gunfights by the minute. If you are a fan of ‘high-octane’ action films please do not be put off by this. I cannot stress enough how the fact that just because this isn’t a fast paced film means that it is boring. Jarhead is far from boring.

    The reason I enjoyed it so much is the fact that (possible spoiler ahead) the heroes were not actually heroes; they did not get a big battle at the end and they far from went out with a bang. Even someone who isn’t a Jarhead like myself understands that this is the reality of war and I think the writers embrace that. That being said some parts of this film really start to make you think and chances are you will be put out of your comfort zone with some of the emotions you feel during this film because there is such a perfect blend between the comedy and drama, you will feel disturbed, you will feel excited and you will be moved.

    The acting is very good, not ground-breaking but Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job at breaking down when he needs to. To summarise Gyllenhaal plays a Jarhead by the (nick)name of Swoff and the film is really a psychological journey through his time in the marines and how he deals with various scenarios – good and bad.

    If you, like me are a fan of well-crafted films that make you feel then Jarhead is for you. 8/10!

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