Home Movie Vault Disc Vault Coming Soon Forum Articles Partners About Us Contest


Genre: Drama
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black
Director: Sam Mendes
Rating: M18
Year Made: 2005






Languages: English
Running Time: 2 hrs 2 mins
Distributor: Berjaya HVN




Jarhead follows "Swoff" (Gyllenhaal), from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, sporting a sniper's rifle through Middle East deserts with no cover from intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers. Swoff and his fellow Marines who have been trained to kill, find themselves in a brutal situation, fighting a war they don't understand for a cause they don't fully grasp.


Everyone loves a war movie, well, most of the time anyway. War movies are potent chemistry of opportunities and exploration of diversifying genres. Beyond curbing the blood lust action seek by alpha males, war movies have famously immortalized romance, kinship and spoke the most unusual yet memorable dialogues ever offered. In bullets and mortars, they contemplated life, philosophy, death, grief and hope under extraordinary situations, thus spouting more classic dialogues. It’s hard to get a type of movie that could fit all those sizes of shoe. In short, war films are almost always every major filmmaker’s wet dreams.

As a ‘Jarhead’ (term referring to the Marines), Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) was trained to be a sniper for the Gulf War. As the days stretched into months in the Saudi Arabia desert, and more troops were pouring in, preparing for the showdown against the Iraqi enemies and Saddam, they began to question their presence and experienced a sense of desolation and abandonment.

Now, to watch ‘Jarhead’ anticipating it to be a full-fledged war movie is purely courting disappointment. Although it was set in one of the influential war of modern times, yet in ‘Jarhead’, it’s direction was not focused on the massacre of the war, but rather exploring the prospect of anticipating war without believing in it. After all, like the Vietnam War, the Gulf War was fought with humanitarian purposes rather than for their lives. It is easy for the American soldiers to experience desolation in a foreign land; plagued with personal sacrifices and loss, they fall harder. This is what ‘Jarhead’ is trying to do - a self-discovered journey of realizing that they are in fact fighting a war against themselves.

Narrated morbidly by its protagonist as he sank into a sanity-denying sandpit of despair. It’s like National Service; where young boys were sent away to be men, in time to realize their detachment with society, losing their girlfriends and bond with the most unusual characters available. In a similar fashion to films like ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ (2001) and ‘Tigerland’ (2000), ‘Jarhead’ examined the desperate disenchantment of regimentation and the illusion of their purposes in war times.

If you understand and accept that ‘Jarhead’ is a war film depraved of action and thrill, it would be friendlier to appreciate this movie for it’s beautiful photography of the desert and the clever dialogues to start with. Probing deeper, it would be soon apparent that it’s bland acting by the two most inane actors of Hollywood (Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard) and the absence of twists are causing the movie of it’s ratings. It was however the last philosophical line of Swofford’s narration which ties the film’s shoestring together, saving it from being utterly senseless.



Review by Ang Wei Kiat



Alternative Opinion:

The movie review by our columnist,

Other titles from Berjaya HVN:

. Two for the Money

. King Kong

. American Pie: Band Camp

. Surviving Christmas

. Perfect Man, The

. Madagascar



This review is made possible with the kind support from HVN Berjaya


DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2006, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.