MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -4

Based on a memoir by Marine Anthony Swofford, this action drama follows Anthony (Jake Gyllenhaal) from boot camp to the end of Gulf War Desert Shield. Unlike the book, which was a first-hand perspective of one man, the movie communicates Marine life from the viewpoints of many. Anthony is a trained sniper among the best in his platoon, which is headed up by Sergeant Sykes (Jamie Foxx). Anthony, like his friend and mentor Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) and many others, wonders about his first killing. A unique bond is formed among the soldiers and is shown from the newcomers hazing to the partying that erupts when its time to go home. Raw and uncensored, this film is a realistic look at the challenging and brutal life of young soldiers. The mental and physical torments of war are portrayed in extended stints of boredom and moments of paralyzing fear.

While this is an interesting look at the Gulf War from the soldiers point of view, the movie drags so much in places that it seems longer than its two and a half hours. This frank look into the minds of young fighting men is often disturbing. Their obsession with sex is not veiled. In order to embarrass their sergeant during a press interview, the men disrobe and simulate group sexual activity. The colonel even speaks of being sexually aroused by the mens enthusiasm. The movies political bias is subtle but takes on a slight liberal slant suggesting that the war is all about oil. While the movie contains some violent images, they are not as graphic as might be expected in a war film. There are some very strong sexual scenes with nudity, and the bad language is over the top with the f-word used more than 70 times. Preview does not recommend Jarhead.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer
Universal Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times mild (damn 2); strong (-ss 3, SOB1)

Obscene Language: Many (100+) times strong (f-word 80+, s-word 15, finger gesture 2, d-ck 5, other 5)

Profanity: Many (12) times strong (GD 3, J 8, JC 1)

Violence: Many times mild (shoving and struggling); moderate (man held down to receive a brand two times, man shot in the head during training, war violence and shooting with automatic weapons many times); strong (black charred bodies seen after an attack several times)

Sex: Several times moderate (men simulate group sex without shirts on, couple shown in underwear with one on top of the other, man appears to be self-gratifying himself); strong (men watch porn film of couple having sex, man and women have sex with nude man shown from behind)

Nudity: Several times mild (couple shown in underwear); moderate (rear male nudity as man shown naked from behind while having sex with girlfriend, men who are urinating are shown from behind); strong (girl briefly exposes breasts, men in shower with frontal nudity PARTIALLY obscured by shadows)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times strong (men speak of having an erection a few times, men speak of having sexual intercourse several times, self-gratification is discussed MANY times)

Drugs: Several times mild (joking talk of selling illegal drugs, alcohol drinking, tobacco use); moderate (men at party drink large amounts of alcohol and appear to be drunk)

Other: None

Running Time: 155 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.