As a film, Jarhead was as schizophrenic as the marine mentality it tried to convey. It swung wildly between occasional bursts of brilliant writing into lazy references to other war movies (oh yes, Apocolypse Now and the Deer Hunter, we get it). Sometime beautiful cinematography gave way to murky, uninspired, cliched imagery. Following the same template as countless movies before it, yet structurally, it was a complete mess.
But perhaps this is part of the point it’s trying to make and it’s done so subtlely as to be barely noticable. I’d like to think so, really I would. But the clunky, heavy-handed way in which it tried to make its other points leads me to believe that the word ‘subtle’ does not exist for these filmmakers.