Mendes | Starring:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie
| Runtime: 123m
| Rating (out of 5):
||Stuff happens during
wartime that nobody is proud of. You have prisoner torture, the wholesale
slaughter of entire villages of innocent citizens and horrible friendly
fire deaths. None of that happens in Jarhead. In fact, nothing
much happens at all. And while that would normally be tragic for screenwriter
and viewer alike, the lack of goings on here is completely intentional.
Apparently war, or the first Gulf War specifically, is filled with
downtime. Sure there's marching and drills and sleeping and eating,
but none of it leads to anything but stir-crazy boredom. Basically
the guys sit around trying to invent ways to stave off the stifling
sense of nothingness--all while waiting for the inevitable letter
from their girlfriend or wife telling them that they've moved on.
This sense of frustration is both the movie's strength and downfall.
It is strong in its sense of isolation (copied somewhat from Full
Metal Jacket), but it also suffers by not taking it far enough.
Granted this is based on a true story, but while the director inserts
some surreal elements into the movie, he takes it right to the point
of 'this is kinda cool' and then leaves us dangling--turning a potential
(with a lot of help) dreamy film into a boring movie. This delved
of the Flies and Apocalypse
Now territory, but ultimately came out feeling like a Hollywood
movie that had its guts ripped out. If I had to say one positive thing
about it, at least I could say it was better than I expected. This
is the last time I let the Mrs. make me throw some unsanctioned b.s.
into my movie queue. [DVD]
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