Wednesday, April 26, 2006


"Jarhead" a Film for the Mind

What makes a Marine? Well, determination and a drive for the unsual is a good start. If you want a taste of an ex-Marine's memoirs of the First Gulf war--Operation Desert Storm, then Jarhead is a good choice. Director Sam Mendes manages to transport the viewer into the mind of the main character Corporal Anthony "Swoff" Swofford based on the real ex-Marine Anthony Swofford who wrote the book which was then written for the screen by S. William Broyles, Jr. The raw reality of war comes through with flying colors and this film is not for the weak or for those who have a fantasy about life as a Marine or war for that matter. Like Apocalyse Now, Jarhead makes use of the music by the Doors made famous in the former as Martin Sheen, who played the main character, hunts down the character played by Marlon Brando, though the Swoff character played by Brokeback Mountain actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who does a superb job at making the viewer become sympathetic to a Marine, states that the Doors' music is from Vietnam and "why can't we get our own music." This note about music is not far from the truth as more and more young people seem to be simply reinventing oldies but goodies because of the lack of a music of their own. Though I don't particularly like war films but admire the direction and acting in such films as Apocalyse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Jarhead is a unique film because it shows us the soldier in the raw. The bonding of such unruly testosterone in the film proves that even a Marine has feelings which are kept under guard until a woman or stress unleashes the human condition at which point we realize that men are human and that in Swoff's words "every war's the same" and sadly "we are still in the desert." Even more sad is that we are back in Iraq and we are truly lost in the desert.

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