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
The sex video breakup scene is actually a well-known urban legend that has been circulating in the American military since the late 1980s and actually does happen. See more »
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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At the end of the credits, Sykes can be heard calling out the following military cadence, with his platoon responding: 'All my life it was my dream/ To be a bad motherfucking U.S. Marine.' See more »
Just saw an advanced screening of this tonight. While it isn't the film that has been so brilliantly advertised, it's a very solid film. It feels a lot like "Full Metal Jacket" early on, but with more humor. Then, it becomes an entirely new animal. More of a psychological study. I would actually call this the "Blair Witch Project" of war films in that you (and the characters) know the Boogeyman's "out there," you're just waiting for him to strike. And the longer you wait, the more stir-crazy you become within your own mind.
The acting is superb and the cinematography is stellar. It's an anti-war film without being distinctly liberal about it. It's a true story, and for the most part, Mendes tells it like it is. So, you can make your own judgment about it. But based off what you see, and all that happens, you have no choice but see the absurdity, not only in war, but perhaps in some of the USMC's tactics as well. It's heartbreaking to see what an experience like this can do to young men.
If you're looking for action, this is not the film you're looking for. No heroism, judgments, insight, or hope. Just the documentation and reflection of build up, the destruction of lives, psychological torment, boredom, camaraderie, and...waiting.
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