(2005)

Critic Reviews

58

Metascore

Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
ReelViews
Jarhead is about how the experience of being in the military fundamentally changes an individual. In this case, the focus isn't about the madness of slaughter in the jungle, but the madness of inaction in the desert.
83
Entertainment Weekly
Jarhead isn't overtly political, yet by evoking the almost surreal futility of men whose lust for victory through action is dashed, at every turn, by the tactics, terrain, and morality of the war they're in, it sets up a powerfully resonant echo of the one we're in today.
70
The A.V. Club
Screenwriter William Broyles, Jr., a former Vietnam pilot and "Newsweek" editor, connects reasonably well with the material, but "American Beauty" director Sam Mendes has a tendency to smooth out the rough edges, and the film goes flat as month-old soda.
70
Dallas Observer
It may feel familiar, but it's a bleak and profound piece of work.
60
Jarhead refuses to engage in its own point of view toward events it depicts. So the film feels empty and tentative, uncertain of what if anything these events add up to.
60
Variety
Part absurdist drama, part personal observational commentary and part hormonal explosion, all seen through the filter of previous war pics, Sam Mendes' third feature has numerous arresting moments but never achieves a confident, consistent or sufficiently audacious tone.
60
New York Magazine (Vulture)
As a result, Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.
50
Has an oddly amorphous and inconclusive feeling to it. We never do find out who Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) is, and his best friend, Troy (Peter Sarsgaard), who shifts back and forth between sanity and hysteria, is a mystery, too.
50
Village Voice
One of the few Hollywood movies to ever acknowledge the Desert Storm "experience," Sam Mendes's Jarhead is both fastidiously grueling and perversely withholding.
50
L.A. Weekly
Curiously, Jarhead transforms Swofford himself (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) from the book’s duty-bound youth, desperate to live up to his father's military legacy, into an enigmatic voyeur whose feelings and motivations are rarely made clear.

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