Jarhead begins and shows evidence of continuity editing (signing up for the marines, riding bus, and being assigned into a platoon- which would obviously take longer than it does). The main actor starts to tell his story and is broken up by a sergeant. The beginning is quite slowing moving except for the initial fight scene and when the sergeant is screaming at the marines. The scenes start to speed up again when the try-out for the snipers begin and builds up until one of the soldiers get shot when he tries to stand up under the barbwire and the final snipers and spotter have been decided.

the yelling sergeant

the yelling sergeant

Here after the marines start to watch the war film on the big screen and everyone gets ‘fired up’ with the background music, guns, helicopters and missiles. The next scene on the plane adds the background music as they arrive in the desert which helps with the moving-along of the film for some type of build up with a speech by the Coronel (soon after continuity editing with the trucks rolling into the desert is shown in a couple of shots to show how they get there and helps the motion of the film).

Another example of the continuity and advance editing is the part where they hydrate and hydrate and hydrate and hydrate whilst training in the desert showing short parts of what the marines do over a somewhat long period of time. This then leads up to the fight between the white and black scorpions- which could also be seen in some retrospect as the fight against Iraq and America. A voiceover is then heard from the main actor and he explains what goes on when they are in the desert. Even though there are not many visuals, the audience can still get some idea that time has passed because of repetition of certain words.

Another thing that seems to strike the dramatic side of the film is when the main actor’s girlfriend’s letter arrives and when the rest of the marines tell him that she’s with another man and then he tries to call her and the conversation is cut short. The next scene then shows a video of the Captain’s wife cheating on him. It puts a major theme out to the audience, loneliness and betrayal.

Throughout the film a subtitle stating how many days the troops have been in the desert which helps explain the reasons why many of the marines are going through so many hard times especially the main actor (who seems to be going insane). A scene which shows the cause and effect is evident when the marines hear sound or gunfire in the distance (effect) and then the cause is shown afterwards where some locals are seen with camels. For a moment it leaves the audience wondering if something bad may happen or the locals with camels will attack them (leaves the audience hanging).

The voice over of the movie does a lot of the explaining (the why) in the film and tells the audience what they can not actually see. My favourite part in the film is when Tony’s first combat experience is seen in slow motion. Here the audience is drawn to the editing (slow motion) and shows the emotion of the actor and how helpless and scary war can be at times.


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