A Movie About Nothing
Jarhead opens with one of those drill-sergeant-being-loud-and-calling-everyone-a-faggot scenes that Kubrick invented in Full Metal Jacket and has been subsequently done to death. This pissed me off right away. What makes something part of a genre, it has been said, is that it recycles identifiable elements albeit in an innovative or interesting way. Which is why I hate genre movies generally because being unique and re-hashing someone else's work is a contradiction in terms. Which is not to say that you can't get a good sci-fi movie or a good western or a good war movie, but it just takes more to rise above the raft of dross.
Later on, we see marines watching Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter. They complain that the music is "Vietnam" music and they need their own soundtrack. I began to get the impression that some kind of point was being made.
Marines get trained, they fuck about in the desert for ages, then the war is over. End of fucking story. Like Sam Mendes' previous film American Beauty, I can't shake the feeling that this film is quite interesting while you're watching it, waiting for the pay-off but ultimately is about fuck all. I am writing him a letter asking for my six quid back.
If it wasn't for the rampant homoerotic charge that watching Jake Gyllenhaal gives me, I wouldn't recommend it.