Jarhead (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner11/01/2006

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 123 mins

Sam Mendes’ latest film is beautifully shot and features a terrific cast but it stops short of saying anything meaningful.

What’s it all about?
The title of the film refers to the brutal haircut given to the recruits as well. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Swoff, a young Marine hoping to see action when he’s sent to the Saudi Arabian desert after Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990.

However, Swoff quickly discovers that it’s a case of all dressed up and no-one to kill, as there’s nothing for him and his soldier buddies to do except wait, stage scorpion fights and play the occasional game of American football whilst wearing gas masks.

The Good
Gyllenhaal effortlessly carries the film, making an engaging lead, even if his character’s lust for the pink mist is a little disturbing. There are also a number of terrific performances from a strong supporting cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard (as Swoff’s sniper partner) and Jamie Foxx as the no-nonsense commander.

There are some terrific scenes here and some genuinely beautiful images, such as the burning oilfields or the recruits leaving white footprints in burnt sand.

The Bad
Given that the film is about the recruits sitting around and waiting for something to happen, it’s churlish to complain about the lack of plot. All the same, very little actually happens and the boredom becomes worryingly infectious in places. On a similar note, it’s a shame that Mendes wastes the opportunity to make any meaningful parallels with the current situation in Iraq.

Worth seeing?
Essentially, Jarhead is a series of beautifully shot scenes enlivened by a handful of engaging performances. Worth seeing, then, but if it’s politics you’re after, you’re better off with Three Kings.

Film Trailer

Jarhead (15)
Be the first to review Jarhead...
image
01 Sabotage (tbc)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence H...

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 The Maze Runner (tbc)

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

image
04 Blue Ruin (tbc)

Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves

image
05 The Fault in all Our Stars (tbc)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

Content updated: 24/04/2014 19:10

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Cupcakes

Charming, cheerful and plain good fun, Cupcakes is an uplifting and visually arresting musical comedy.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films