HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
   
 
Newest Articles
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jarhead The Waiting Game
Year: 2005
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black, Jamie Foxx, Brian Geraghty, Jacob Vargas, Laz Alonso, Chris Cooper, Dennis Haysbert, Ivan Fenyo, Peter Gail, Jamie Martz, Scott MacDonald, Evan Jones, John Krasinski, Brianne Davis, Marty Papazian
Genre: War, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) was not so sure he made such a great move when he joined the Marines, especially after the verbal and at times physical abuse he received from his superiors during his basic training. After that was over, it was a matter of waiting for the call to arms, but while he did that there was a lot of military exercises at his new camp to undergo, and a lot of soul searching about his life choices and the family and girlfriend he had left behind. He wasn't so bothered about his Vietnam veteran father or his deadbeat mother, but he did begin to brood over his girl - would the chance to kill someone alleviate his woes?

A war movie with hardly any war, Jarhead was another Iraq War movie to fail to capture the interest of most of the public when it was initially released, as with pretty much all of the works out of Hollywood based on Middle Eastern conflicts. But there is an audience for this type of thing, and the fact that this one concentrated on the first Gulf War should have given it a measure of recent historical interest. At least we could weigh up the differences between the first one and the second, but actually Sam Mendes' film, based on the real life experiences of Anthony Swofford's time as a Marine, almost went out of its way not to engage in any political issues which you might have thought would have inevitably been brought up.

Instead it's the inner life of Swofford which informs the drama, and much of that is based in deep seated frustration. Perhaps some of that frustration stemmed from Mendes facing up to the fact that much of his film had echoes of previous war movies, and Gyllenhaal comes across as an updated Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket for the early stages at least: we even see the troops being entertained with a screening of Apocalypse Now as if to underline similarities. Eventually Jarhead becomes its own entity, but it takes an awfully long time, with its military humour and harsh lessons to be learned all in the service of the country they're supposed to be defending - which is not America, or so they are told.

No, it's Kuwait they're meant to be liberating from Iraq, and if you're hoping for a goodly amount of satirical jabs at the Western oil business pressurising the United States into looking after their interests, then you'll leave disappointed, particularly as what Swoff wishes most is kill someone. He has been trained as a sniper, and that's what he wants to do, but after the Iraqis invade and he and his unit are shipped out to Saudi Arabia, a long existence of utter boredom awaits while they are given nothing to do. Just about every scene from then on is set in the unending desert, and if the unit were crazy before, here they are sent completely round the bend as their presence and little else is all that is required from them.

Swoff is surrounded by colourful characters which helps in identifying them, as all the cast playing the soldiers wear uniform and have the same haircut, so Peter Sarsgaard plays Gyllenhaal's right hand man, also eager to get some killing done, and Jamie Foxx at his most charismatic plays their sergeant, a man who thrives on simply existing in the army no matter what he is called upon to do. We know how the war affects them because after a while the film starts to struggle to find activity for them, even as they move into Kuwait, and the dreaded speeches start, but the film does make one political point of sorts. That is that with the conflict being pursued by button pushers, all that is left for the man on the ground to pick up the pieces and survey the bomb damage, as in one memorable scene where the Marines encounter a convoy of refugees reduced to charred corpses by American weapons. Mendes does offer a unity of style and a few arresting images emerge from that, but war enthusiasts are surely to appreciate this the most, if they don't mind that essential inaction. Music by Thomas Newman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2911 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: