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November 05, 2005

Jarhead - 5

This film was disappointing. I was hoping that it would say something, instead it just stuck to ambiguity. It is driven by the theme of soldiers than it is by a story. While focusing mostly on the main character, Tony, it shows the development of the characters through their experience in the first Iraq war. The film plays like a marine recruiting video (The war it is about only had 378 casualties, the current war is at 2000), it didn't make me want to sign up but I could see how it could be interpreted as a guilt trip. In all the ambiguity there were also, in my opinion, some ironic lines about the futility of war, similar to the book and film Catch 22. It stresses honor among the troops, but the lack of a visible enemy only increases the view that war is disembodied (hence the prevalence of masturbation among soldiers).
The filming is very much in the documentary style, much like American Beauty with both vivid cinematography, and sections shot in more choppy quality film (the director is Sam Mendes, who did both films). It is based on the book by Anthony Swofford. From the reviews of the book it seems better than the film version, often the case, eh? If you like war movies then see this, if not wait to see the main clips when it gets shown on TV.

2 comments:

Jason said...

Despite the fact that I think American Beauty is overrated, I like Mendes as a filmmaker, so I'll probably try to see this soon. It seems like Road to Perdition is still his best film.

mark said...

I thought Jarhead was a good film. The plot may have dragged a bit, but it captures the essence of being in a war and waiting for something to happen. That's exactly what Jarhead does well.