For those reasons alone, "Jarhead" would be difficult to recommend, but because the film offers little else to set itself apart from superior films about wartime malaise and political incoherence ("Full Metal Jacket" is one obvious example), it’s an easy call. The film’s only contribution to the genre is evermore explicit violence, language, and sexuality – elements that are, sadly, far too common in the most frivolous fare today. The serious, timely subject of our military’s efforts against Iraq deserves a better movie than "Jarhead."

AUDIENCE:  Adults

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT:

  • Language/Profanity:  Lots of it, and very graphic. Note the “Rating” explanation at the top of this review, which describes the film’s harsh language as “pervasive.” Particularly offensive are a soldier’s recitation of the sixth commandment, followed by his declaration, “F--- that sh--,” and one soldier’s description of U.S. forces as “the righteous f---ing hand of God”; a soldier also says, “Thank you, Jesus,” for the opportunity to shoot the enemy
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Swof smokes; the soldiers drink and smoke while partying
  • Sex/Nudity:  Simulated homosexual intercourse; masturbation; men urinate in the open; frontal nudity (obscured) of men showering, but backsides are shown; a man and his girlfriend have sex, and the man’s backside is displayed; the men gather to watch a movie that turns out to be a homemade sex tape of one soldier’s wife engaging in sex with another man
  • Violence:  Swof is hazed by his fellow soldiers, beaten, tied to a bed and threatened with being branded by a hot iron; a soldier is shot in the head and killed during a training exercise; military snipers practice loading their guns and discharging them; a photograph shows the effects of nerve gas on a young boy; the soldiers organize scorpion fights; vomiting; a soldier threatens another at gunpoint, then turns the gun on himself, threatening suicide; a soldier is branded with a hot iron; a friendly fire incident; burning bodies jump from military vehicles; charred human remains; a building with soldiers in it is bombed; a man is displayed in a coffin