Friday, November 04, 2005


We had a group outing to the movies this afternoon, and our choices were: Jarhead or Chicken Little. One person chose to see Chicken Little while the rest of us including me, went to see Jarhead.

Krisanne recently read the novel and liked it, and that makes me curious if the movie is as good.

The most interesting thing is the odd sense of disappointment felt by Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is trained as a sniper. The marines are whipped into a frenzy during training ("I just want to see the pink mist" he says as he practices shooting through the head of a target) and while seeing war movies as a group. In Saudi Arabia, they are bored, playing football with their protective gear on while practicing removing imaginary mines and patroling against imaginary targets. The men are disillusioned and are almost envious the Air Force guys are getting all the kills. One fellow marine complains the enemy retreats faster than they can follow, so the Air Force is the only branch that can keep up.

In one scene, he and his sighting partner are sent to shoot two high ranking Iraqi officials, but at the last moment, they are called off in favor of an airstrike. His partner flips out and is angry they are denied the kill - he asks if they could shoot right before the airstrike hits, and nobody would have to know.

Jamie Foxx does a great job as Staff Sargeant Sykes. When Sykes and Swofford are sitting alone, he confesses he'd rather be here than at home with his family, working as a partner in his brother's business, because he's loves this job. He mentions that nobody else sees the things they do, and then the camera reveals the landscape: night in the desert, raining oil, with several wells on fire. I think it was supposed to look a bit like hell.

The movie closes with them returning to camp to find everybody celebrating the war is over. Six months in the desert, four days of war, and he didn't even fire his rifle in combat.

As far as war movies go, it was OK. It doesn't rank up there with Platoon or Full Metal Jacket.

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