Monday, November 07, 2005

Jarhead (2005)

"What would you do to that Hottie over there?" *POP*

Action War Drama (USA, Germany)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko; Brokeback Mountain), Peter Sarsgaard (The Skeleton Key; Kinsey)

Directed By: Sam Mendes (Road To Perdition; American Beauty)

Overview: Based on the autobiography of a sniper grunt in the first Iraq War, we follow a young man's training for and deployment to, the Kuwaiti desert.

Acting: It was a real nice surprise to see that kid from Sling Blade, and Friday Night Lights. I think he's a good little actor, though I was disappointed that Billy-Bob Thorton wasn't there with him. The roles themselves were pretty well portrayed, if the direction wasn't a bit too standard fare. Guys who need to cut loose at times of stress and face the trials of deployment, seems like that's about right.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: There were some really nice scenes, especially the one where they patrol through the fire wells and that first bombing attack with the slow motion shock. Tragic scenes like the firebombed road don't hold back, but there was a few too many tributes to other films, like Apocalypse Now, (they even make fun of the fact that they're doing it) and especially Full Metal Jacket. There was a dream sequence that used the same bathroom, and lighting technique as a climactic scene in that Kubrik classic. Such a tribute that is seemed more like overkill.
Rating: 7

Script: The writing isn't all that intelligent. The narration is as common as the soldier dictating it (that's the point though), but there were a few moments where Jamie Foxx shined in his monologues. Overall nothing memorable, but well told.
Rating: 7

Plot: The story, I had heard, was "one in which you wait for something to happen". I see what critics meant by that, but that was the point, and at the same time, though it wasn't action packed murder, the tale of the men was a pretty-much politics free microcosmic view of the whole thing. It's only flag-waving in the patriotism of the characters, but there were a few poignant, almost controversial stabs at friendly fire, Gulf War Syndrome, crappy equipment and our return to the Gulf in the Second Wave. Better than I expected.
Rating: 8

Mood: The overall mood was pleasant, with focus on the people at the time, listening to 90s music, the boredom of patrols and the loyalty (or lack thereof) of the women stateside. It's heavy at parts, but the parts are few. It's like we're actually listening to someone true account, with all the army cliches being so because life is just genuinely like that sometimes. Nice surprise.
Rating: 8

Gear that helped against camel farts turned out to be the most lifesaving...

Overall Rating: 74% (Good like the Rest, Not one of The Best)

Aftertaste: Yeah, not a two-time movie, but there really were some artistic and deep moments, as well as a speech or two that will stay with me a while, but sadly, these moments are always too short for my liking in this type of film. It's no 'instant classic' like I saw advertised. I normally would not have even gone to see it. What you do for friends...