A young man gets a crash course in the madness of war in this fact-based drama from director Sam Mendes. Anthony "Swoff" Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) decides to join the Marines, just like his father and his father before him, and signs on just in time to be sent to Iraq to fight in the Gulf War in 1991. After experiencing the rigors of boot camp, Swofford and his pal Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) are trained to be snipers, and under the leadership of Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx) and Lt. Col. Kazinski (Chris Cooper), the two land in the middle of a desert where they're up against an enemy they can't always see under a blazing sun with hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Swofford, Troy, and their fellow soldiers rely on the wits, their sense of humor, and their friendship of their brothers in arms to deal with a situation that doesn't much resemble what they saw on television at home. Jarhead was based on the memoirs of the real-life Anthony Swofford, who did serve as a sniper in the 1991 Gulf War; the title comes from military slang for a Marine enlistee.~Mark Deming
Over 35 minutes of deleted scenes including more of Swoff's fantasy sequences
A wonderful cast, a world renowned director, yet this isn't the best war movie ever made, but it wasn't really supposed to be. I love war film depictions and portrayals, and if you're looking for an all out war blood film, this isn't it. It's more about the group itself juggling the battles and pressures of the Gulf war, so that is a really cool concept. There's coping, struggling, and dialogue, and no war movies really show that side of it. And no better than Sam Mendes (American Beauty) to do that.
Other recommendations: The Kingdom, Three Kings, Brothers.