BOREDOM is not the most obviously appealing theme for a film but that s what is at the heart of Sam Mendes first Gulf War movie, Jarhead. Based on the memoirs of a marine, it tells the story of Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal), a 20-year-old volunteer
BOREDOM is not the most obviously appealing theme for a film but that's what is at the heart of Sam Mendes' first Gulf War movie, Jarhead.
Based on the memoirs of a marine, it tells the story of Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal), a 20-year-old volunteer, as he trains for and goes to war, only to find that in this particular conflict, his main purpose is to sit around in the desert, doing nothing much with his increasingly frustrated comrades.
The film doesn't take a particularly anti or pro-war stance, it's just a straightforward look at what it was like to serve there.
Aside from Gyllenhaal, there is an excellent supporting cast.
Peter Sarsgaard is especially good as Gyllenhaal's placid partner, while Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx is a more well-rounded drill sergeant than you usually get in films.
There is an awful lot to admire in the film but it does have the one obvious problem - if the people on screen are bored, frustrated and restless, that can easily transfer itself to the audience.
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Mendes does mostly hold your attention but there are times when your mind is likely to wander.
It's a skilful, intelligent, well-made film but, whereas with the written word you can explore the inner workings of the mind, on screen you cannot and that is what is missing here.