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Jarhead [Blu-ray][Region Free]

Jake Gyllenhaal , Peter Sarsgaard , Sam Mendes    Suitable for 15 years and over   Blu-ray
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx
  • Directors: Sam Mendes
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KZH6G0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,131 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Sam Mendes directs this adaptation of former Marine Anthony Swofford's Gulf War memoir. Young recruit Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) joins up with the US Marines (nicknamed 'Jarheads' because of their distinctive haircuts) on the eve of the 1990 Gulf War. After a brutal spell in boot camp, during which Swofford and his fellow recruits are systematically geared up for the conflict, the Marines are dispatched to the deserts of the Persian Gulf to take part in a war that sees them required to do very little in the way of fighting. Bored and frustrated in the middle of nowhere, the young soldiers resort to a macabre sense of humour as they wait for the war to happen to them.


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’ 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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realities of War 10 Jan 2008
I was reluctant to see this movie. As a veteran of Desert Shield/Storm, I spent my first 90 days in-theater in the Weapons Co of A Swofford's Battalion. I later was moved to the 1st Bn of 7th Marines, but having been in the same unit for some of the same time I felt I could offer readers a unique perspective on the film's accuracy.

From a purely aesthetic perspective I thought the film was well done. The acting was very good, and the script was well written, witty, and accurate. The actors were well suited to their roles. My personal preference for a good plot would have been disappointed were it not for my personal interest in the film. In my opinion this film is an outstanding dramatic-documentary, so adjust your expectations accordingly. If you are expecting a driving plot line and all the accompanying dramatic tension, then I think you will be disappointed (as many whose comments I heard exiting the theater certainly were). But if you think of it as a chance to take a glimpse into a point in history, and see it as some of those who lived it did, then I think you will be impressed.

Many people may think that the obscenity of some of the interactions was overdone for effect. But whatever anyone's personal judgment of that behavior, that is the closest portrayal of Marines (or soldiers) being themselves I have yet seen on screen. Marines are vulgar. They do watch porn. They do fight among themselves. They do both hate, and love, the Marine Corps. There is an omni-present anti-war conspiracy theorist. The do say ridiculous things. There are some who are over the line. The reality of the Marine Infantry is that things happen there every day that are well beyond conventional sensibility, and which strain credibility to the average civilian. It's all true.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great War Film 3 Jun 2006
By Art
This film didn't get great reviews when it was in the cinema and I really don't understand why. It gives a brilliant sense of the desert, the waiting, and finally the fighting. Sam Mendes directs this film so well with the blinding white sands of earlier scenes contrasting the black oil later on. The sniping scene is incredibly tense and the film cleverly blends comic moments with a very real story. All this plus a killer soundtrack of classic songs (none of which seem to feature on the soundtrack album!)
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece 10 Jun 2006
By Brogan
When I heard Jarhead was being filmed by Sam Mendes, one of my favourite directors, I decided to read the book it was based on. The novel, also called Jarhead, was brilliant and I couldn't wait to see how Mendes' film would turn out.

When the film came out, the reviews weren't bad, but they didn't seem to reccomend anything about the film either. Most reviewers seemed to focus on the fact that the film didn't directly imitate the novel and wasn't as good. But then when has the film ever been better than the novel?

Jarhead is tonally very different from the book, as the film seems to look for a more comedic side to war. Perhaps if the film had been made closer to the novel it would have been better. But Jarhead is still a masterpiece. It has no faults whatsoever: the acting (particularly from Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaad) is amazing, the storyline moves along at a quick pace and the cinematogrophy is the best I have ever seen. Those who complained the film was boring are missing the point: the desert scenes are meant to seem boring. In my opinion, Mendes was just trying to convey how boring life was for the soldiers "fighting" in The Gulf War.

As some others have said, this is one film that will get better with age and will be regarded as a classic in years to come.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Influential!! 28 Mar 2006
I would really recommend anybody to watch this film as soon as they can. The acting is great as Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx are both top-class in the acting industry. This film has excitement, humour and it is highly realistic. It is not like other war films which are mostly unrealistic and and all have happy endings etc. The fact that this is like real wars, makes the movie more tense because anything could happen. I would also like to point out that the soundtrack to the movie is great. These are some of the songs that are on the soundtrack: Don't Worry Be Happy, Bang A Gong (Get It On) and Jesus Walks by Kanye West. Not only are the songs fantastic, they are fitted into the film beautifully. Jarhead is also the perfect length (123 mins) which means that you can watch it over and over again and you will not get bored. You should buy this film as soon as you can!.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much misunderstood 30 Oct 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you are expecting an easy or simply movie go elsewhere. This movie is really all about ambivalence. Just like the book it describes the experiences of a young marine in the gulf. What is uncomfortable is it shows what young soldiers are really like, what they want (sex and fighting), how they talk (**** or *******) and how their responses to the experience of war changes them. I agree with ther reviewers who say this is not a recruiting movie, but nor is it really an overt antiwar movie. It is faithful to the book (which is very graphic) and leaves the same questions and ambivalence. It does not allow comfortable stereotypes to the usual extent - war is not glorified but it conveys some of the extreme adrenaline rush - the same marine can be gung ho with a lust for killing, then sensitive, then callous, then a simpering wreck - so which is he? Does it borrow from other films? It is a war movie - how many ways can you convey a bullet whizzing by? So yes there is a bit of Private Ryan, Platoon, Apocalypse, Catch22 and FMJ in there - is that a bad thing?

If you want to avoid upsetting all you preconceptions and oversimplificatiopns then do not buy either the movie or the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by madmax
4.0 out of 5 stars 'ONE MAN'S WAR'
After an intense and often torrid training experience, 'Anthony (Swoff) Swofford' (Jake Gyllenhaal) receives
his posting, he is to join a Marine Sniper Corp. Read more
Published 2 months ago by rbmusicman
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Judge by everyone elses opinion!
Many have shunned this - maybe it was not watched properly! I found it to be quite endearing and well acted - only 4 stars because the story could have been much more - but still a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ieshia Domir
1.0 out of 5 stars boo
DVD was really tatty not happy
Published 2 months ago by natalie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by Lars Jönlid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic movie that's great on blu ray
Published 3 months ago by Supermarine
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern WAR
Interesting perspective on the First Gulf War. Shows a lot about the reality of modern warfare, the mess made then in Iraq which is still being added to there.
Published 4 months ago by Donald C. Seaman
4.0 out of 5 stars good film
Never seen this film before, but am interested war/history from this era. Have heard mixed things about this film but I found it very good and got across what the guy's on the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by lee shave
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, well told
I'd seen this before, but I remembered it being a good film so I thought I'd watch it again and I have to say it was better than I remembered it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by M. Brookes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film. Excellent condition and arrival time
Bought as a gift for my son after he had read the book. Brilliant film
Arrived within a few days and in excellent condition
Published 16 months ago by G. C. Strudwick
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