Sunday, April 16, 2006

Jake Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Lucas Black

"Welcome to the Suck!"


I have to admit I have a penchant for 'serious' war movies. I've seen all types from World War I (Joyeux Noel), World War II (Saving Private Ryan), the Vietnam War (Platoon), the Korean War (M.A.S.H) and the first Persian Gulf War (Three Kings).
It has more to do with the fact that wars have always been a part of every country's rich history and not because I like violence.
I like movies about war that depict the characters as three dimensional and not mere killing machines who would annihilate their enemies just for the sake of killing. My favorite is Thin Red Line which featured a spaced out Jim Caviezel pondering out loud his inner thoughts. So there was no way I could miss Jarhead but I waited till it came out in VCD. That way I could watch in the comforts of my home and rewind some scenes over and over if I felt the need.
This film is based on a book by an ex Marine, Anthony Swofford who served in the Desert Shield/Desert Storm Persian Gulf. Ably portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, we witness his journey as a soldier who is stationed in Saudi Arabia to 'protect' the oil wells of Kuwait. Then they are engaged in battle so to speak once Saddam started his so called "Mother of all Wars" when he invaded Kuwait. History tells us that during the first Persian Gulf, most of the US troops stationed along the Saudi/Kuwait border didn't see much action. Although they were a powerful presence with as much as 500,000 troops stationed in the harsh desert. So most of the films depicting that period in history are mostly portrayed in a comical manner. Not much action scenes, mostly bored soldiers trying to cope with the vast desert, its harsh climate and just itching to go kill some Iraqis. So we are shown scenes of the Marines playing American football wearing their nerve gas gear, goofing around and just being silly and nonsensical. I didn't read the book so I cannot really say if it captured the real essence. But I suppose Swofford did go through all of those things shown in the film except of course a few 'Hollywood' touches here and there which is to be expected. Now, if you are expecting to see a lot of action/battle scenes, you will be disappointed with this movie. But if you are interested in the interaction among the soldiers and want some angsy dramatics then by all means, watch it. Plus you get to see an almost naked Jake Gyllenhaal gyrating in the movie. What else can you ask for? Yes this would appeal to the female population, male too if that's your thing, it isn't up to me to question your preferences. Heh.
Ok, seriously! I believe we owe it to ourselves and to the troops (no matter their nationalities) doing their duties (no matter where they are stationed, be it in Iraq or Afghanistan or as peacekeepers) in a harsh world torn by conflict to see movies which show us how it is like to be miles away from home to serve one's country for the sake of democracy. As well as for world peace to reign so that we can all sleep better at nights.

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