User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 186 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 186

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  1. Lex
    Sep 17, 2010
    7
    Story follows a scout sniper of the U.S Marine Corps, Swoff (Gyllenhaal), from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty. Swoff and his fellow Marines, who have been trained to kill, find themselves in a brutal situation, fighting a war they dont understand for a cause they dont fully grasp. FULL REVIEW: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/567447/reviews/?movie=9044
  2. Sep 6, 2013
    7
    Jarhead is a decent psudo-war movie. It isn't overly preachy or gung-ho. It just... Is. Perhaps that is very apt because the film is actually quite distant and detached. Everything seems just out of reach from the marines of Jarhead. Nether-the-less, Jarhead is fine surrealist entertainment.
  3. May 29, 2011
    6
    Sam Mendes has made a precious movie about the war in Iraq showing the side that nobody had curiosity to deepen and that had everything be tedious and boring. The film has an absurd psychological strength, makes us think of as human enough to extremes when it comes to war, how the values change significantly and the life that never makes it all erased. Great movie and worth seeing.
  4. May 31, 2013
    8
    Jarhead pulls back all the things we might just think we know about war, and tells a tale of the most dangerous aspect of any soldiers adventure...themselves. Many questions are asked and often answered as Jake Gyllenhaal's Anthony "Swoff" Swofford is welcomed in unique fashion to "the suck", the Marines in 1989 on the brink of war.
    Jarhead is very different from any war film you will
    see, because it isn't really a war film, its a character-driven tale of personal growth, life decisions and an insightful journey through the eyes of those walking endlessly through the desert, waiting for something to happen. Its full of colourful characters, sparkling wit and plenty of bored soldiers talking crudely and finding endless time to wait for war.
    Swoff is a sniper, and he never truly understands what made him sign up for the Marines, he narrates his way through different aspects of his life leading up to that one moment that he can remember and bring away with him from his day in the Gulf.
    We are introduced to various members of Swoff's sniper team, including Troy (Peter Sarsgard) who is a confident yet quiet character, contrary to Staff Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx), a sharp-tongued, hilarious yet focused and determined veteran, putting these men through their paces.
    The true tsle and plot of the film is not the wider scope of war or political agenda, but a selection of characters and how they adjust to life away from home, the prospect of being in danger and the personal motivation that drives these people to react to things the way they do, and how they handle not just being a soldier, but simply living and how their own personalities pass over onto the battlefield.
    Jarhead is an expertly character oriented film, sure there is some excellent set-pieces, but this is very much a dramatic telling, a journal if you will, of one persons journey, so don't expect an all out action extravaganza. But the way the narration goes, the film does sometimes seem to embellish the prospect of becoming a soldier of any kind, and the amount of humour can sometimes lead it to almost appear too comical for its dramatic context.
    But that aside, the performances are excellent and varied to the point of unique qualities. Sykes loves what he does, and truly shows it, Troy also loves it but prevents himself from pursuing it, and Swoff just can't quite work out what he wants, perfectly put across by Gyllenhaal.
    A true art of a film, not trying too fool the viewer, but giving them a point of view.
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  5. Dec 31, 2011
    8
    Most of the people who have had something negative say about the movie are most likely stuck up civilians who always get what they want. To actually relate to this film you have to be a jarhead yourself. I found this movie very comforting because I can relate to it. No marines wear suits like that in 112 degree weather but that didn't detract my view of the movie. I gave this movie an 8 because marines go through things like that including suicide. Good job representing the devil dogs. Oorah! Expand
  6. Feb 21, 2012
    3
    A film that keeps you thinking the big payoff is just around the corner... then nothing happens. Perhaps this is an intentional analogy of the main character's military life or perhaps the film is just stilted and boring. I felt completely disconnected from the characters and their attempts to convey the emotions of overseas deployment elicited nothing more than a shoulder shrug.
  7. Dec 17, 2013
    5
    An interesting premise as this one focuses more on the daily activities of the soldiers than battles. Thus, one would assume that there would be solid character development, yet this movie seems to think giving hometowns and showing where everyone wound up counts as character development. Ultimately, "Jarhead" winds up feeling like Platoon without the intrigue. Without characteristically great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx, there wouldn't be much reason to tune into this one. Collapse
  8. Dec 14, 2012
    9
    One of my favorite movies but not for everyone. I was expecting a war film such as the classic Saving Private Ryan or even We Were Soldiers but this film is not like that at all. This film focuses on the psyche of a soldier. It focuses on the relationships and all the rubbish they have to go through for an ultimately disappointing and unfulfilled life. Watch this expecting a classic war film, hate it. Watch this expecting something else and you might just enjoy it. Easily in my top 10. Expand
  9. Feb 24, 2014
    9
    This is a very powerful film with violent action scenes are amazing performances. Director Sam Mendes is definitely one of the best filmmakers currently working in the movies today. His films are always powerful and leave the viewer thinking.
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    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.
  3. As a result, Jarhead is utterly predictable (boys endure tough training; boys encounter another culture and are baffled), studded with first-rate performances.