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Jarhead (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Jamie Foxx , Jake Gyllenhaal , Sam Mendes  |  R |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jamie Foxx, Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Lo Ming, Lucas Black (II)
  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (346 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000DZIGDU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,048 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jarhead (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Swoff's Fantasies (With Optional Commentary by Director Sam Mendes and Editor Walter Murch)
  • News Interviews In Full (With Optional Commentary by Director Sam Mendes and Editor Walter Murch
  • Deleted Scenes (With Optional Commentary by Director Sam Mendes and Editor Walter Murch)
  • Feature Commentary with Director Sam Mendes
  • Feature Commentary with Screenwriter William Broyles, Jr. and Author Anthony Swofford

  • Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com

    Based on Anthony Swofford’s excellent memoir about his experiences as a Marine Sniper in Gulf War I, Jarhead is a war movie in which the waiting is a far greater factor upon the characters than the war itself, and the build up to combat is more drama than what combat is depicted. To some viewers hoping for typical movie action, this will seem like a cruel joke. But it’s not. It’s just the story as it was written, and if you liked the book, you will probably like the movie. If you didn’t, then the movie won’t change your mind.

    The movie follows the trajectory of Swofford (played with thoughtful intensity by Jake Gyllenhaal) from wayward Marine recruit (he joined because he "got lost on the way to college") to skilled Marine sniper, and on into the desert in preparation for the attack on Iraq. No-nonsense, Marine-for-life Staff Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx), the man who recruited Swofford and his spotter Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) into the sniper team, leads them in training, and in waiting where their lives are dominated by endless tension, pointless exercises in absurdity (like playing football in the scorching heat of the desert in their gas masks so it will look better for the media’s TV cameras), more training, and constant anticipation of the moment to come when they’ll finally get to kill. When the war does come, it moves too fast for Swofford’s sniper team, and the one chance they get at a kill--to do the one thing they’ve trained so hard and waited so long for--eludes them, leaving them to wonder what was the point of all they had endured.

    As directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), the movie remains very loyal to the language and vision of the book, but it doesn’t entirely work as the film needs something more than a literal translation to bring out its full potential. Mendes’s stark and, at times, apocalyptic visuals add a lot and strike the right tone: wide shots of inky-black oil raining down on the vast, empty desert from flaming oil wells contrasted with close-ups of crude-soaked faces struggling through the mire vividly bring to life the meaning of the tagline "welcome to the suck." But much of the second half of the movie will probably leave some viewers feeling disappointed in the cinematic experience, while others might appreciate its microcosmic depiction of modern chaos and aimlessness. Jarhead is one of those examples where the book is better than the movie, but not for lack of trying. --Dan Vancini

    Product Description

    Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this critically acclaimed, brilliantly unconventional war story from Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes. Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows Swoff (Gyllenhaal) from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty, where he sports a sniper rifle through Middle East deserts that provide no cover from the heat or Iraqi soldiers. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing desert fields in a country they don't understand against an enemy they can't see for a cause they don't fully grasp.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
    By Cubist
    Format:DVD
    Anticipation was high for Jarhead, the cinematic adaptation of Anthony Swifford's book of the same name about his experiences as a U.S. foot soldier in the first Persian Gulf War. The reaction to the movie was underwhelming to say the least as critics savaged it and audiences stayed away. Something was definitely in the air as the film also failed to pick up any nominations or awards at any of the important ceremonies (Golden Globes, Oscars, et al). Was the film really that bad or had it just been marketed wrong? Or, was it simply the victim of our current political climate?

    Jarhead is a film filled with striking images captured wonderfully by director of photography Roger Deakins. For example, Swofford and his platoon come across oil wells burning out of control, oil raining down on them. At night, they continue to burn providing the only light, and coupled with downpour of oil, looks like some kind of nightmarish vision of hell.

    Critics complained that nothing happened in the movie but wasn't that the point? The first Gulf War was typified by highly trained soldiers ready to kill who, for the most part, did nothing because it was predominantly a conflict fought in the air by extensive bombing that ended the war as quickly as it did. Jarhead encapsulates this notion well in a scene where Swoff and Troy are ordered to sniper two high ranking Iraqi officers and at the penultimate moment when they are given the go-ahead to kill they are ordered to stand down so that an air strike can come in and literally steal their thunder. This scene pretty much sums up the experience for a lot of soldiers over there.

    Sure, there are the unavoidable comparisons to the boot camp sequences in Full Metal Jacket to the ones in Jarhead but so what?
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    28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A Day In The Life of March 9, 2006
    Format:DVD
    I'm a retired Sergeant First Class from the U.S. Army. I didn't get a chance to see the movie at the theater but I bought the DVD yesterday. Personally I thought it was a great movie. There was a great deal of reality to it. Soldiers, Sailors, Airman or Marine, it matters not. You have some that act totally ignorant in certain situations to help cope with stress while others just deal better with it. I've seen it in many forms over my 21 years of Active Duty. I don't think it shed a bad light on the USMC, because these troops didn't act much differently then some of the Vietnam troops did. If you're a warmonger and want to see a lot of action this is not the movie for you, but if you are interested in the day to day or A Day In The Life of kind of movie that shows how a person or typically a servicemember grows this is the one for you. The language is what it used to be like in the Army until they started changing the regulations. The movie took me back to my Army days. I loved it!
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fills Us in with Operation Desert Storm May 27, 2006
    Format:DVD
    "Jarhead" is a marine expression that describes a recruit as an open vessel waiting to be filled by the commanders that be and by the haircut that makes the marine look like one. The movie is a recollection of the first Persian Gulf War, told from the point of view of Private Anthony Swofford (who wrote the book, but is played by Jake Gyllenhall) and his trek from marine recruit until the end of Operation Desert Storm. The war only lasted six weeks, and his contributions only four days, but the process he undergoes is absorbing. "Swoff" undergoes initiation and later reluctance until he meets his command leader Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Fox) who gets him ready. His biggest challenge is keeping a fellow marine in check (Fowler, an ex-con) who seems unstable at best and incorrigible at worst.

    The movie isn't as intense as the most acclaimed war movies, but it isn't less insightful. We are given a palpable reality. The scenes show the urgency of missing women, the boredom and agony of anticipation, and the wild comraderie in all its details. The best scenes are when the narrative focuses on Swoff separate from his brigade and he shares his inner angst. The dream sequence tells more than any scene and has a surreal stream-of-consciousness effect. We also get a first-person feel to when they have to play football in the grueling 112 degree heat. Other revelations are done well, too. For instance, their frenzy is present when watching "Apocolyse Now". There's an interview scene where Swoff and others show their reluctance to follow the military's command to keep silence about the downside of being a recruit. (They're just brimming to tell it like it is.) Later, Swoff gets into big trouble during a holiday party where he shares contraband liquor.
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    117 of 150 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars In All Fairness I Cannot Be Fair March 27, 2006
    Format:DVD
    Sorry, but I cannot give this film a fair objective evaluation because it hit me personally as a former Marine of 8 years and current Air Force Reservist of 9 years, and also as an OEF/OIF combat zone veteran. So unfortunately I will have to state my opinion and fall into the ranks of the other evaluators whose reviews are voted on according to social poularity contests and not according to the actual content of the reviews. But it's okay...I can live with 0 helpful votes out of 26 reviews!

    I watched Jarhead for the first time yesterday. My stint in the Corps lasted from 1986 to 1994 and I spent plenty of time living in open squad bays, two-man "hooches," GP tents with all kinds of Marines from 0311 grunts and 9th Recon Marines to pencil pushing office pogues in a variety of countries and secluded, tense conditions. Of all the personalities I was exposed to and all the practical jokes, mind games and stress releaving activities, I can honestly say that I never ran across such sustained extremes of group behavior with such complete disregard for the UCMJ and the safety of fellow Marines.

    The opening scenes of Jarhead are less than convincing as the main character is harrassed by a drill instructor who somehow manages to get away with sporting a moustache. Small detail but an inaccurate one, from any of the USMC drill instructors I ever saw. The actor appears to try desperately to follow in the foot steps of R. Lee Ermey of The Boys in Company C, Full Metal Jacket, Mail Call and the real U.S. Marine Corps. The behavior is not far off the mark (as any bruised-up Third Battalion Parris Island recuit can tell you) but the acting is not quite convincing.
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    Why is this collecter's edition version of the DVD so hard to get?
    I got mine from Best Buy. I ordered it online but decided to do store pickup in my state just to see which store had it. Out of the 14 Best Buys I pulled up, only one store (Laurel, MD) actually had it and they only had two copies. Luckily it was only a 25 minute drive from my house to pick it... Read More
    Mar 21, 2006 by Reggie L. Mattocks |  See all 5 posts
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