What’s a Marine to do in a war dominated by air power?
Based on the memoir by the same name Jarhead is an intelligent, moving look at Marines who trained for years to be soldiers only to participate in a war where their talents were not needed.
Jarhead documents the journey of Anthony Swofford from recruit to Marine Scout Sniper in Desert Storm. It’s a sort of biopic that drags at times and several scenes tend to drag on, like we all knew his girlfriend was going to leave him, but they spent about 20 minutes of movie show that.
Overall it has a feeling of other war movies like Catch-22, Apocalypse Now and Platoon but has a wholly independent feeling. There are some hauntingly powerful scenes and once they actually start marching into
Jamie Foxx gives a powerful performance as Staff Sargant Sikes. Peter Sarsgaard continues his part as delivering powerful performances in supporting roles. Also Jake Gyllenhall buffed up and proved he actually can act and not just look pretty, so that was nice for him.
Swofford has described his book a pro-war story and the movie reflects that to a certain point. It leaves out parts of Swofford’s book where he said the whole invasion felt like a publicity stunt and that the war was about oil and personal fortunes.
It’s a gripping piece and is probably one of Universal’s best bets for Oscar gold. I could easily see nominations for Jake Gyllenhall for lead actor, Peter Sarsgaard for supporting actor, Sam Mendes for direction and possibly best picture nod as well.