Posted by: kfugrip | February 21, 2007

War is hell… and so is your relationshiop back home.

My first reaction, a third of the way through, to Jarhead, directed by Sam Mendes, was that I didn’t buy it. That Gyllenhaal loosing his mind wasn’t working for me. All the relationship stuff, the characters worrying about their wives/girlfriends and the fact that it would push a soldier to mental collapse, isn’t out of the question. I believe it could happen and, furthermore, I think it’s interesting and dramatic. However, in this case it seemed tacked on. It should have been a movie by itself rather than the second act of your garden variety anti-war film.

They should be anti-war films though. Reading David Mamet’s thoughts on the genre in his book, Bambi vs. Godzilla has birthed a new appreciation of war movies in me. I realize that it allows me to be drawn to and repulsed by the act of war. It is very dramatic though. Even in a movie like this, where little happens. The moment the leads were given the assignment to kill some officers, I found myself being excited at the prospect, as if to say “finally some actual war”. I liked that, thought they were snipers, there wasn’t a big deal made out of their marksmanship. No theatrics.

Good performances all around, and well cast too. Coupled with all the powerful and poetic imagery, makes for an interesting film. The war where “I didn’t get to fire my rifle”. Good stuff. When it starts raining oil, that was my favorite part. It never occured to me that it would rain oil arround the burning wells. The horse, everything about that scene was great to me.

What I didn’t like: the music. All the needle drops were terrible. Very hollywood in it’s use of music. On the nose.

3 stars

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