Movie Review: Jarhead

Well acted, good photography, definitely some neat scenes. But it left me wanting more.

It didn’t seem to add up to anything. War is hell, war is great, Iraq was bad, Iraq was good, Bush is great, Bush is bad, whatever. It doesn’t say anythign like that. It’s just a bunch of stuff that happened. I’m in favor of that for a comedy, but for a serious film? What’s the point?

I wonder how much of it was true. It was based on Swofford’s autobiographical book, so it’s certainly true in the big strokes. It has a good look into the military world, there are many little touches that are far too realistic to be faked. On the other hand, during the course of this film a recruit got shot in the head during training with no real outcry. Another flipped out and attacked a superior officer, with no repercussions. Several were borderline nuts. All of this was treated as ordinary. That doesn’t jibe with any other book I’ve read about military life.

If you enjoyed Jarhead, I reccomend two other sources:

Making the Corps: ” In Making the Corps, Ricks follows a platoon of young men through 11 grueling weeks of boot camp as their drill instructors indoctrinate them into the culture of the Few and the Proud. Many arrive at Parris Island undisciplined and apathetic; they leave as marines.” It’s a great book, you get to see how the military mind is shaped, and how the military wants it to be shaped. You all see all the tensions between the Marine ideals, and how the exist once they get out in the real world.

BUDS Training Documentary: Nothing has ever made me feel less of a man than watching this. Whenever it comes on Discovery Channel, I can’t turn away. This follow a call of 83 soldiers who are trying to get into the the Navy Seals program (BUDS=Basic Underwater Demolition). It is truly amazing. These men are held to the most mind-blowing standards of physical and mental excellence I can comprehend. They might as well be an entirely different species.

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