A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.
Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it's over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go? Written by
When Swoff's squad arrives at the "Highway of Death" a road sign in the background reads "Abdali 150 KM, Kazimah 80 KM, Mutlaa 10 KM". There is nowhere in Kuwait where all three of these distances would be accurate: Al-Mutla and Kazimah are only about 10 to 15 kilometres from each other, and Al-Abdali commune is only roughly 70 to 80 kilometres from those two districts and roughly 90 to 100 kilometres from Kuwait City. Most of the carnage on the "Highway of Death" took place along Highway 80, in the area around Mutla which would have put Abdali only 70 to 75 kilometres and Kazimah only 10 to 15 kilometres away. See more »
Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford:
A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
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The title of the movie is the only opening credit at the beginning of the movie. See more »
Every War Movie is Different. Every War Movie is the Same.
More than anyone, I would imagine that U.S. Soldiers would have a more specific opinion of this film than anyone else. They were there, they were in it, no one knows better than they.
And there are two kinds of soldiers: those who loved it, who took great pride and honor in serving their country... and those who saw it as just a job, got out, and got on with their lives. "Jarhead" is based on a book, written by a U.S. Marine, who falls squarely into the second category.
He does not judge, he does not come out as for or against the war. This is not a political movie, yet will still make some people uncomfortable, and it should. "Jarhead" lays out the experience of one particular Marine from boot camp, to (suddenly) Operation Desert Shield, to Operation Desert Storm. What happens here is not always pretty, but it is the truth, and the truth should be all we can ask for.
The screenplay was adapted by William Broyles Jr., who in addition to some TV work, adapted the recent "Planet of the Apes" remake, and "Cast Away." Personally, I didn't think either of these films were anything special, which is why "Jarhead" is such a surprise. Not a lot blows up, there's no huge siege like in your typical Vietnam movie... it's a surprisingly affecting study of this one man, the experiences he had, the people he knew. It's about the Corps, and it's about brotherhood. Our main character, Swof, never judges, never mentions politics, is only the best Marine that he knows how to be.
As Swof's friend Troy says at one point, "F*** politics. We're here. All the rest is bull****." Which is all the movie is about, really. This is what happened. Take it or leave it.
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