What most Americans remember as a "blink and you’ll miss it" war – the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 – was a much different experience for the American troops who spent more than six months fighting heat, boredom, loneliness and each other in the desert as they waited to act on orders. Jarhead is a war movie in every sense of the word, but it’s more about what doesn’t happen than what does. And still, against all odds, it’s as thrilling and strangely exhilarating as the lot of them.

Jake Gyllenhaal is terrific as Marine sniper Anthony Swofford, whose book provides the basis of the film, but the screen belongs just as much to fellow Marine Troy (Peter Sarsgaard) and Staff Sgt. Sykes (Jamie Foxx). That more people saw Sarsgaard and Foxx in Flightplan and Stealth, respectively, is just plain wrong.

Extras: Director commentary, Swafford commentary, a trove of deleted and extended scenes with introductions and commentary, production diaries, footage of real marines as extras, Marine interviews.

Grade: A