Jarhead

Saw the movie Jarhead last night. I liked it a lot. One of my friends, having seen it, described it as “the closest you can get to being a Marine without actually being one.” Having been a Marine, I’d have to agree with his statement. The idea of waiting around (hurry up and wait) was breached in the movie, but I don’t think the experience of it could actually be conveyed in a 2.5 movie. However, the director and actors and script writers did an excellent job in their roles for this movie. It captured the gung-ho, the hoorah, the interior torment that I believe all Marines (and military, for that matter) go through in their career. There are excrutiating moments of both exuberance and depression that the movie captured well. This is the Full Metal Jacket for the 09/11 America.

There are some things that I wish the director approached more directly, however. The questioning of why? was brought up, but only briefly. While this was not the story of an unwilling Marine, I just think this is an important issue. I know from personal experience that Marines are not just dumb robots. They are in fact more highly educated and capable of critical thinking than perhaps ever before. They are constantly questioning why. Why are we in a foreign country? Why are we upsetting the fragile balance of an entire world region and population? Why are we just waiting around here? So I would have like to see more on this topic. I would also like to have seen more in the way of commentary about the current situation in Iraq.

The director brushes against these topics, just barely. On the other hand of this conversation, he is quite successful in preventing the movie to become the soap box it so easily could have become. That is an admirable accomplishment. The movie focuses on the story of one young Marine, and it portrays both the Marines and the war very accurately and fairly. This I admire very much. The only demographic I would not recommend this to is that of the Mothers and Fathers who have young Marines in the service.

4.5/5

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