Adapted from Anthony Swofford’s memoir of the same name, Sam Mendes’ Jarhead is a tale of young men sent to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield only to fight the isolation that their station holds. Swofford himself is deftly and convincingly played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who delivers a powerful performance that lets us watch Swofford’s internal undoing without ever coming off as overbearing.
Jarhead is also impressive in that it manages to stay relatively apolitical; it doesn’t comment on the war itself as much as it does show the effects of deployment on those involved.
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