‘Welcome to the suck’

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By Johnathan Kroncke

Hoorah (Courtesy of image.net)

By Johnathan Kroncke

I love this movie…Hoorah!

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx are spectacular in “Jarhead,” the real-life and thought-provoking wartime piece that should be 2005’s movie of the year.

Gyllenhaal (“Donnie Darko,” “Day After Tomorrow”) stars as Anthony Swofford, a Marine sniper who is fresh out of boot camp and ready for war.

His commander, Staff Sgt. Sykes, is played fantastically by Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Stealth”). Sgt. Sykes is a lifelong Marine who wants nothing more than to be in battle with his men. If only there were some action.

Swofford and his band of buddies are among the first Marines to be sent into Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Unfortunately, the war has not started yet and they are forced to wait forever, living for the hope that a fight will soon come.

As time passes, Swofford becomes restless and paranoid which culminates in the most powerful scene in the movie as his frustration nearly drives him to murder one of his own men.

When war finally does come, it is an experience that each soldier holds on to for the rest of his life.

“Jarhead” is one of the most realistic feeling wartime pieces ever made, ranking right up there with “Saving Private Ryan.”

This is, in part, because it is based on the bestselling novel by the real Anthony Swofford who recounts his own experiences as a Marine in the Middle Eastern desert waiting for a war.

Another aspect of “Jarhead” that makes it so appealing is the narration that Swofford gives throughout the movie which is mostly him reciting standard operating procedures for Marines in different situations.

He ranges in topics from how to deal with boredom to the proper steps taken for burning waste in an outhouse.

This not only helps the audience to further understand the plight of these soldiers but it also draws them in and makes the story seem more real.One fantastic and unique aspect about “Jarhead” is that, for a movie set in a war, there is very little action.

Hardly any battle scenes are shown and there is very rarely any sign of the enemy.

By doing this, the audience is forced to focus on the human element of the film and how the characters are affected without being distracted by too many harsh battle scenes.

Peter Sarsgaard (“Garden State,” “Skeleton Key”) delivers a stirring performance as Troy, a troubled young man seeking relief from his life as a civilian, although his past is never fully explained. Sarsgaard is a natural on screen with true acting talent and it will be no surprise if he is given an Academy Award for his role.

“Jarhead” is not just a derogatory term for an empty-headed Marine anymore. It is a powerful movie filled with angst and humor and devoid of any glaring flaws.

The true story of Marine scout/sniper Anthony Swofford as a young man discovering himself is told expertly with well-developed characters and superb acting.

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