Anthony Swofford is 19 years old and doesn’t really know what to do with the rest of his life so he decides to join the US army and become a Marine (aka Jarhead). During his training, he wonders whether he made the right choice, but due to the indoctrination of his instructor Sergean Sykes, he starts believing he’s doing something good. When he gets added to an elite team of snipers together with his buddy Troy the two quickly become the best of their unit. When Saddam Hoessein invades Kuwait in 1990, Swofford’s unit gets sent to Saoudi Arabia. They are ready for action and are looking forward to it, but when they arrive, they find out that their mission is protecting oil rigs which isn’t exactly the action they were hoping for…
Sound and Vision:
The image is really great with the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the movie, good contrast, lots of shadow detail and lots of detail. There’s quite some use of filters to add to the atmosphere and the directore nicely succeeded with this. There’s some intentional grain present but unlike in some other movies, here it doesn’t bother at all. Geat transfer!
The 5.1 soundtrack is perfectly mixed and nicely switches from subtle during the slow scenes to active with lots of use of effects during the action. Also the subwoofer gets optimally used when necessary and we conclude with saying that the only minor downpoint is a rather low bitrate.
– Audio commentary by director Sam Mendez
– Audio commentary by script writer William Broyles jr and author Anthony Swofford
– Swoff’s phantasies: deleted scenes
– Full news interviews: the complete interviews of which parts were used in the movie added with commentary by the director and editor. Quite boring after some time
– More Deleted scenes
Jarhead is based on the 2002 book by Anthony Swofford who was a Marine sniper during the first Gulf War and shows the boredom of the marines during the preparation before and the actual 4 days of war in that period. Don’t expect a standard war movie as Jarhead is more focused on the psychological stress the marines had to endure during their stay in the Gulf and it succeeds very well in that. There’s little action present but it’s realism makes up for a lot. Great stuff!
On the technical side, Universal has done a very good job on the image and sound quality, but the extras are a bit of a downer. Some real interviews with Swofford and a Making of would have been decent additions that are lacking now.