Tuesday 28 January 2014

Film Review - Jarhead

I'd seen this before, but I remembered it being a good film so I thought I'd watch it again and I have to say it was better than I remembered it. It tells the story of a  young man who joins the marines, he's actually a bit disillusioned by the experience until he trains as a scout sniper and finds his calling. Like many soldiers he yearns for the chance to put his training to use and that opportunity comes when Kuwait is invaded and he is deployed as part of Desert Shield and ultimately  Desert Storm.

If you're looking for an action film then this isn't the film you are looking for, however it is interesting look at the characters and interactions of a small unit. Like most modern war films it doesn't shy away from the horrors of war, although it doesn't do so in any real detail, it's covered only in glancing as something these marines see. One scene that did stand out for me was the burning of the oilfields, an oddly beautiful as well as a disturbing sight.

For a character based film it's all down to the actors playing their roles and everyone does a good job here. They are all convincing as marines, but also as young men under the stresses of war and naturally of the relationships between the marines and those back in the world.

There's also a fair spread of dark humour throughout the film, which helps balance some of the more morose moments. Overall I liked this film a lot, it's an interesting story that was well told - worth watching twice in fact!

Sam Mendes directs this adaptation of former Marine Anthony Swofford's Gulf War memoir. Young recruit Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) joins up with the US Marines (nicknamed 'Jarheads' because of their distinctive haircuts) on the eve of the 1990 Gulf War. After a brutal spell in boot camp, during which Swofford and his fellow recruits are systematically geared up for the conflict, the Marines are dispatched to the deserts of the Persian Gulf to take part in a war that sees them required to do very little in the way of fighting. Bored and frustrated in the middle of nowhere, the young soldiers resort to a macabre sense of humour as they wait for the war to happen to them.

Click here to purchase Jarhead from Amazon (and it's a fine watch)

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