I give Sam Mends points. The man only has five movies to his name and he's become one of the more respected directors in Hollywood.
Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) enlists in the Marines in the late 1980's. He malingers during boot camp but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy (Peter Sarsgaard). The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline and heat, Desert Storm begins.
This had to be intersting for Gyllenhaal, considering this is his first post-Brokeback Mountain role. Mendes continues to expose the painful truths of reality, as also shown in American Beauty and Revolutionary Road. Unlike most war movies, Jarhead focuses on the memories of training rather than the actual battle.
My Rating: ****