Monday, November 21, 2005

 

Jarhead

Meridian 16, November 18
Sam Mendes, 2005

5

As with all his films, well made but unsatisfying. I this case, a rationale is lacking; this has all been done before. Rewatch Full Metal Jacket. A few assorted obervations: I like Gyllenhal, but he's not convincing in this role. Mendes and/or the writers don't seem to have decided what they want to do with Swofford--is he the archetypal empty vessel or the existentialist soul who goes along to get along? The key supporting roles--Foxx, Saarsgard, and in only two scenes the glorious Chris Cooper--are much more convincing. Foxx is turning out to be a hell of an actor.

The final scenes aren't bad, but they don't offer any insights that didn't already occur to the viewer. While I enjoyed my two hours in the theatre, I have the distinct sense that this film will fade from my mind quickly, as Road to Perdition did.

Comments:
I liked it a lot more than you did; thought that the bootcamp scenes were sufficiently distinct from Full Metal Jacket, and very much liked the depiction of the nothing that makes up most of military life.
 
Didn't see the movie, but it sounds about the same as the book. I don't understand how Swofford can bear to show his face in public after exposing his empty self so thoroughly. Or did I miss the cosmic meaning or something. The book has got to be the best anti-Marine recruitment book ever.
 
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