Jarhead: the hands always remember the rifle

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February 28, 2014 by Welcome to the Jungle


“Jarhead” A capture of the personal war of a Soldier
By Nathan H.

Jarhead (2005)

Directed by Sam Mendes


“A Story, A man fires a rifle for many years and he goes to war, afterwards he returns the rifle to the armories and he beliefs he is finishes with the rifle, but no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a women, build a house, or change his sons diaper, his hands remember the rifle”. This is the opening line of Jake Gyllenhaal lead actor of 2005s “Jarhead” directed by Sam Mendes.
Jarhead is a very realistic take on the Iraq war. It doesn’t focus on the blood and action like most war movies do. However there is a share of action to keep the viewer on their Toes. Instead the movie focuses on the stress and internal wars the soldiers faced. The story follows US Marine Anthony Swofford and his experience in pre Dessert Strom and Dessert Strom. The film starts off with Swofford’s marine training. He then is transferred to start training to become a Scout Sniper. It then moves onto the war itself. The story is based of Anthony Swofford’s 2003 book of his experiences as a Marine. The film is very dramatic.
Jake Gyllenhall does an incredible job playing a soldier dealing with the boredom and stress the soldiers were forced to deal with during pre-Dessert Strom. In the training scenes it Jake betrays Anothony Swoffords thrill to see action. The training turns him into a “killer” and Jake makes it very convincing that he has became one, with the proper use of Dialog and a unique tone in his voice. One line that sticks with the viewer is “I wanted the pink mist”. This line means he wants to see what himself taking a life. The pink mist representing the impact of a bullet. Reinforcing this Swofford gets in a lot of trouble because of a follow marine. Swofford then turns his weapon on this marine and threatening to kill him. Jake Gyllenhall demonstrates a soldier breaking down from stress very well. The way he says “it will end this f***ing waiting” is extremely convincing.
Director Sam Mendes did a great job using the right dialog to go with the right scenes. Since the film is being Narrated by Jack Gyllenhall the director uses the prefect lighting and tones to go with what he is saying for the best affect. Sam Mendes the director uses the right music to go with the correct visuals to match it.
Not a lot of memorable special effects were used in this money. The film relied on good solid acting to make it great, giving that it is a war drama. However when there are grenades going off and artillery hitting the ground the explosions are very realistic. There are no big fireballs to flash it up since grenades and artillery don’t really make those kind explosions. One scene will always stand out to the audience. This is when the marines are in the oil fields. It is truly a miserable and depressing scene.
Jarhead is truly the best war movie I have ever seen. The actors do a great job depicting a realistic war environment. I would recommend this movie to anyone. Even though it isn’t full of action, it is far from boring. The focus on the soldiers and Anthony Swofford experiences and stress makes the movie great.
I am a grade 12 student who really enjoys war movies. I always look for the realism in the war movies and the focus on the soldier’s experience and their internal war. Not just the war the movie is taking place. Jarhead is a perfect example of this.


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