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Modern Marines and Modern Conflict in 'Jarhead'

Jarhead tells the story of a Marine sniper as he trains and arrives in the Middle East in time for the Iraq conflict of 1991. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, who narrates the film; Jamie Foxx; and Peter Sarsgaard. It was directed by Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for American Beauty.

While most of the film steers clear of politics, it explore the dynamics of young soldiers preparing to enter battle for the first time -- and spending weeks in the desert to see if they'll actually fight.

Jarhead is based on the book by the same name by former Marine Anthony Swofford, who served in Operation Desert Shield and other parts of the Gulf War.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

David Edelstein is a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, and an occasional commentator on film for CBS Sunday Morning. He has also written film criticism for the Village Voice, The New York Post, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section.