“Welcome to the Suck”. That’s the tagline for Jarhead, the Sam Mendes flick about a sniper’s experience in the Gulf War – where he didn’t even get to fire his gun. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Starsgaard and Jaamie Faaxx (err, Jamie Foxx), the movie runs about two hours long, but… nothing really happens.
I’m not really sure if that’s the point – we get to see a bit of Jake’s training, and then they’re shipped off to Saudi Arabia, where they do nothing but wait. They’re bored – and in a way, so are we. Lots of the fellow squad members fit the expected stereotypes: there’s the guy who wants to kill things; the guy who has a criminal past; the guy who loves the military so much that it’s almost pathological. It’s not that Jarhead is “anti-war” or even “anti-military”. But it doesn’t really leave you with a positive feeling about the military, or even that Operation Desert Storm (the first one) was a good thing.
The music by Thomas Newman was interesting – not exactly his usual schtick, but not sure it will play well on CD either. Lots of percussion and guitars, I guess. The cinematography is quite nice – there are some great shots in the film that do make it stand out as a visual treat. But with no real storyline, and flat characters that don’t grow, this film does indeed live up to the tagline: “Welcome to the Suck”.