Never once have I been as devastated as I was after watching this weekend's Desert Storm marine movie "Jarhead." Having known a few people who have been and/or currently are serving in Iraq, and having their stories in my mind, definitely encouraged the destruction of my emotional stability. I'm kind of embarrassed to say it, but I've never before uncontrollably wept during the credits, not to mention off and on for a couple hours afterwards.
If you haven't already heard, (Ladies Love) Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Swoff, a new recruit to the marines and apparently a shoe-in for the sniper squad. Swoff narrates the story, taking us from his time in boot camp to his training in Iraq, to patrolling the burning oil fields in the sand. To compliment Gyllenhaal's impending Academy Award for this, Jamie Foxx will assuredly have a say in who's going to take Best Supporting Actor for his role as Staff Sergeant Sykes. The two of them deliver what is no doubt their best acting to date and will forever be talked of as long as there are still soldiers in the desert.
It was hard to judge from the trailer how much actual fighting would be shown, and it turns out there are only two scenes with any combat. Even the politics of the war is brought up by a soldier, only to be instantly quieted by another who insists that they are there and no political argument will change it. The film instead focuses on the life and mentality of a marine as he's thrown into something he couldn't even begin to properly prepare for.
'American Beauty' director Sam Mendes is the magic behind the camera for this one too, which definitely has everything to do with how incredible this film turned out. The cinematography is also absolutely amazing as well, with the burning oil field scenes searing stunning, ever-lasting images in your mind.
For the first half of the flick I found myself laughing ridiculously hard at Swoff's life from boot camp to being recruited as a sniper. Just the interactions and dialogue between him and his fellow marines and their leaders is enough to put you on the floor. Slowly though, as a mentality shift among the group begins, you realize it's all of these previous interactions that led up to this change and the intensity of the plot starts to really tear at your heart.
Regardless of your political affiliations, your thoughts and views on the war in Iraq and just your overall political standpoint, 'Jarhead' is a movie which everyone in this country needs to witness. It is not only humorous, intense, sad and terrifying, but I think the most important film of the year.
5 out of 5 rams