A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.
Without tanks or air support, a corporal and his team must muster all the courage and firepower they can to fight their way across war-torn Afghanistan and shepherd an important anti-Taliban woman to safety.
Anthony "Swoff" Swofford, a Camus-reading kid from Sacramento, enlists in the Marines in the late 1980s. He malingers during boot camp, but makes it through as a sniper, paired with the usually-reliable Troy. The Gulf War breaks out, and his unit goes to Saudi Arabia for Desert Shield. After 175 days of boredom, adrenaline, heat, worry about his girlfriend finding someone else, losing it and nearly killing a mate, demotion, latrine cleaning, faulty gas masks, and desert football, Desert Storm begins. In less than five days, it's over, but not before Swoff sees burned bodies, flaming oil derricks, an oil-drenched horse, and maybe a chance at killing. Where does all the testosterone go? Written by
A great deal of the dialog is improvised. This was a deliberate choice on the part of Sam Mendes to be a little more organic after the stylization of Road to Perdition (2002). See more »
At one point in the opening scene, when the Drill Instructor is yelling at "Swoff" there is a female recruit standing in his line clearly smiling when she is not supposed to. See more »
Anthony 'Swoff' Swofford:
A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
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The title of the movie is the only opening credit at the beginning of the movie. See more »
Gritty story based on the true life experiences of Marine recruit Anthony Swofford, a naive teenager who gets more than he bargained for beginning in basic training, then a long and hellish nightmare of combat after he's shipped off to Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield. Well-crafted, strongly acted, and extremely political the film certainly holds your interest, but the script is unfocused, the subject matter never truly compelling, and the momentum slows more and more as it goes along. Gyllenhaal is respectable as the reluctant Marine who finds himself in over his head, while Foxx is a powerhouse as his gung-ho sergeant. Starts off strongly, but gradually becomes conventional and loses its way. **½
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