Rated 4.0

A film about soldiers who never get to fight by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Jake Gyllenhaal plays Swoff, a Marine sniper sent to Saudi Arabia for what would eventually become Operation Desert Storm. The movie is a harsh, sometimes satiric look at the experiences of the post-Vietnam Marine, and Gyllenhaal is a marvel at its center. Swoff and his fellow Marines train hard in the desert, force gallons of water into their stomachs, shoot at nothing, and wait for the moment of engagement with the enemy. When that moment comes, U.S. military might does most of the damage from the sky, and the soldiers wind up trekking through the gory aftermath and standing in an oil shower. The film successfully depicts a different kind of war without being too preachy. Jamie Foxx and Peter Sargaard are very good in supporting roles. Based on the book by Anthony Swofford.