Director Sam Mendes and writer William Broyles Jr.'s adaptation of Anthony Swofford's 2003 Gulf War memoir plays like a DJ's mash-up of Full Metal Jacket
and Three Kings
, and by all means feel free to consider it a one-war-removed commentary about the imbroglio in Iraq. But ultimately it's about nothing more than the crippling tedium of anticipated battle, the madness brought on by endless days spent waiting for that one second when you kill or get killed. Swofford, a reader of comics and Camus played by Jake Gyllenhaal (pictured), is our wry, rational guide through this minefield, and he tells the tale as if to prove one doesn't need a tangible enemy in order to lose his shit. But Jarhead
, which also stars Jamie Foxx as the sergeant who loathes the boredom of battle but loves the job, can't be dismissed as derivative. It may feel familiar, but it's a bleak and profound piece of work, a war film in which the only American casualties shown are those destroyed from the inside out.
Scheduled to Open Friday, Nov. 4