Friday, November 04, 2005

Jarhead: A Movie Review

I just returned from seeing Jarhead and I must say that it was awesome!

Directed by Sam Mendes, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx star in this movie about a STA platoon attached to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (my old unit - Go Fox Company!) during Desert Sheild and Desert Storm.

The movie opens with Gyllenhaal as Private Swofford (Swoff) is going through boot camp. The sequence is short but realistic. I was in boot camp about the same time and you can imagine the memories that came flooding back.

Swoff gets pegged for STA by SSgt. Black (Foxx) and a brief glimpse of Scout Sniper training is given. STA Platoon is watching television as the news that Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait.

If you were expecting an action movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This is a drama set on the outskirts and eventually behind the lines of war with Iraq. The movie did an excellent job of communicating the tension of the classic military posture of "hurry up and wait." While they're waiting to get the war started and possibly to die the Marines have to live and train and play in the hot sand. They are stranded half a world away while their babies are born, their girlfriends dump them and in one scene a Marine receives a video from his wife of the movie "Deer Hunter" and moments after the credits roll, it cuts to a porn video. All the guys are cheering as the realization comes over the Marine that it's his wife and his neighbor. It was gut wrenching.

Later, Swoff gets in trouble for dereliction of duty when he assigned his watch to someone else and it resulted in a small disaster. The tension of waiting for war, the isolation from the rest of the world and the memory of his ex-girlfriend linger in his mind and drive him to the edge of sanity.

The tension and drama remain high because they know that conflict is coming. This is a different kind of war movie because it's not really about war, it's about a jarhead and every jarhead is the same.

Go see this movie, especially if you've been in the military. Semper Fi!