Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 186 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Laced with dark wit, honest inquisition and episodes that are at once surreal and poignant, tragic and absurd, Jarhead is the film adaptation of Marine Anthony Swofford's bracing memoir that took readers into his disorienting firsthand experience in the Gulf War. (Universal)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. The sum of the movie is devastating. One takes out of it a sense that the human cost of our endless adventure in Iraq is going to be incalculable, perhaps catastrophic -- a psychological time bomb that will be exploding for decades to come.
  2. The daring achievement of Jarhead is that it is not a film about war, about combat: it is about being a soldier.
  3. 75
    The result is typical Mendes: accomplished, calculated and uncommitted. Maybe it's because his talent comes to him too easily, but I've yet to sense his heart and soul in a film.
  4. What's so good about the movie is Gyllenhaal's refusal to show off; he doesn't seem jealous of the camera's attention when it goes to others and is content, for long stretches, to serve simply as a prism though which other young men can be observed.
  5. 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.
  6. 50
    Mendes doesn't care about people -- he's too busy making his art. And with Jarhead he pulls off, effortlessly, what so many pro-and antiwar individuals since Vietnam have tried so conscientiously to avoid: His movie is antiwar and anti-soldier.
  7. Jarhead virtually begins with a rip-off of the basic-training sequence that opens Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket."

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 98
  2. Negative: 21 out of 98
  1. Feb 24, 2014
    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. Expand
  2. Dec 14, 2012
    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
  3. May 31, 2013
    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.
  4. Lex
    Sep 17, 2010
    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: Expand
  5. Sep 6, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. May 29, 2011
    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. Expand
  7. Feb 21, 2012
    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. Expand

See all 98 User Reviews