Sourced from Anthony Swofford’s bitter war memoir, _Jarhead _depicts the minutiae of a tale of conflict from the perspective of a young Marine landed in the Arabian peninsular during the 1990 Gulf War. *Jake Gyllenhaal *takes the role of Swofford and narrator and in doing so, delivers surely his finest performance thus far.
Documenting a tale of boredom peppered with sour regret may seem a grim subject matter but the frequent and ferocious humour infused in the sterling script is impeccably directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty) who manages to grab your attention for the entirety of the picture with point-of-view, handheld cinematography. By charting Swofford’s transformation from naïve recruit to a hardened doubter of his own government with strong images of troops fearing their lives with inadequate supplies and support.
With the script written by another former Marine, William Broyles Jr., there is a timeless relevance that cannot be forged and the regular references to previous war movies such as Full Metal Jacket, Deer Hunter _and _Platoon, only add to the powerful dialogue. A stellar supporting cast includes Peter Sarsgaard, Lucas Black and, most notably, Jamie Foxx who improves immeasurably on his previous effort - the summer flop, Stealth - with a poignant show as the whipcracker.
This is a film of men in crisis and there are no punches pulled. Gritty dialogue and emotive performances are backed up with every facet of desert war life including the porn, the drunken mistakes and the torture of loneliness. The narration does descend into preaching on the odd occasion but Gyllenhaal's Swofford felt he was a wronged man and Mendes makes quite sure that every emotion is evoked. *Jarhead *will take you where you least expect it.
9Raziq Rauf's Score