Movie Review – Jarhead – Touching


Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows “Swoff” (Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper’s rifle and a hundred-pound ruck on his back through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don’t understand against an enemy they can’t see for a cause they don’t fully fathom

Ah no time to do the last Cambodia post today, will do it tonight or tomorrow I guess.

Jarhead is a very good film, I’ve heard a bit about it, and I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while, afterall Jake Gyllenhaal seems to be the new in thing.

I see this film as something like the Full-metal Jacket of our generation (Yah I love that movie too). It isn’t narrow in its viewpoint, it’s doesn’t display things in a negative manner (like Born on the 4th of July) and it doesn’t glorify war. It has a balanced view, showing both the good and the bad. The camaraderie and the loneliness.

It’s most definately not a explosion ridden blood fest or action war movie, the warfare in the movie is minimal, if you want that go and watch Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan. It’s a movie about the social aspects, it can go from loud and racous to quiet and poignant.

It is based on a true story, the story of Anthony Swofford during operation Desert Shield which later turned into operation Desert Storm. Gyllenhaal plays the part to perfection. Foxx also puts in a sterling performance as the cool calm war veteran and staff sgt.

The cinematography is breathtaking, especially the scenes of the burning oilfields when it’s literally raining oil.

Jarhead Oilfields

The whole thing is just well conceived, beautifully filmed, well adapted and very well acted.

Definately worth a watch.

I did see adverts for it in Malaysia, but it seems to have been pulled as it’s not being shown at the moment. It turns out there were some great movies in 2005, with this and Crash.

I’d give it a great 8.5/10




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14 Responses to Movie Review – Jarhead – Touching

  1. spiller March 7, 2006 at 11:54 am #

    Yes, great movies. This, Crash and Lord of War.

    Btw when you gonna review Crash?

  2. ShaolinTiger March 7, 2006 at 12:08 pm #

    spiller: Honestly, I thought I did! But I can’t find the review, looks like I forgot to do it. Haven’t managed to catch Lord of War yet.

  3. Dabido (Teflon) March 7, 2006 at 2:53 pm #

    Glad you did the review. I was going to avoid Jarhead, as I thought it was just another ‘US War’ film. Sounds like it is very different if there isn’t too many war scenes.
    Might give it a look once it comes out on DVD.

    I have no idea what Crash is … but, I don’t spend to much time watching TV now a days, so probably mised the adverts for it.

    Is it about a Bandicoot, or is it just ‘Lost’ but without the island bit? 🙂

    Anyway, I’ll wait for the review.

  4. ShadowFox March 7, 2006 at 4:50 pm #

    I am going to suggest another great film but it’s not done by Americans.

    No Man’s Land.

    PS: I am an Stanley Kubrick fan too. FMJ rules!

  5. ShaolinTiger March 7, 2006 at 5:01 pm #

    Dabido: Try it out, Crash is a great movie too, Oscar winner for best movie 🙂 And I never watch TV so adverts don’t have anything to do with it.

    Shadowfox: Generally for me, movies NOT made by Americans are the best 😉 Will try and find a copy of that, looks very good.

  6. slinky March 7, 2006 at 6:11 pm #

    In my books, Jake Gyllenhaal is the new Brad Pitt. Am definately gonna watch Jarhead after reading this review. Cheers!

  7. passerby March 7, 2006 at 8:12 pm #

    check out Lord of War‘s intro!!! (audio & video) and the movie too lah.

  8. jeff March 7, 2006 at 9:50 pm #

    hey shaolintiger. i watched that movie. it was really good. altho i think it deserves a 9/10 not 8.5! haha

  9. Ted March 8, 2006 at 1:57 am #

    “Jarhead” was bloody superb!

    What really impressed me is that there was a lot of genuine “military” humour incorporated into the script. I saw the flick in the theatre and there were times when I was ROFL and getting strange stares from the civvies in attendence as a result. [LOL]

    I’ll second ShadowFox’s recommendation reference “No Man’s Land” – it’s also an awsome flick. That movie really resonated with me, having spent six months living and working in Bosnia.

    Another excellent war flick set in BiH which I would highly recommend is “Savior” – either of these flicks are worth the rental if you can find them.



  10. samuel March 8, 2006 at 9:36 am #

    saw jarhead last year and i thot the movie was pretty allright, cept the trailer portrayed it as an action packed movie, instead it’s filled with sex scenes… and it was rated 14A here in canada, thot it was a little under-rated. same as wedding crashers and 40-year old virgin

  11. ShaolinTiger March 8, 2006 at 3:22 pm #

    slinky: Yah I can see the attraction.

    passerby: Yah had a few recommendations for that, will definately be looking out for it.

    Ted: Thanks dude, I’ll try and look them both up.

    samuel: Sure we are watching the same movie? I don’t remember 1 sex scene.

  12. samuel March 9, 2006 at 10:57 am #

    i’m sure we’re watching the same movie.. i dont know if it’s cencored there or no, but there’s 1 part where they were watching a tape of this guy’s wife having sex with another man.. lots of questionable scenes as well.. one part where he wanks in the bathroom.. maybe u got jipped off with the cencored version.. or maybe u didn’t consider those scenes as “sex scenes”

  13. ShaolinTiger March 9, 2006 at 11:24 am #

    samuel: Yah I remember those, and no I wouldn’t consider those sex scenes really. One is a bunch of guys watching a video and the other is a ‘over the shoulder’ shot of a guy mastrubating.

  14. samuel March 10, 2006 at 1:30 am #

    i thot it was kinda disturbing just cos there were a few grade 8 kids sitting in front of me in the movies.. but hey, it was a really good movie, no doubt