Films featuring
Peter Sarsgaard

Jarhead

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Jarhead is a film about the other harsh reality of war, the tens of thousands of soldiers who endure endless days and weeks of crushing boredom, loneliness and deprivation, only to never get the chance to use the skills that they’ve often spent years honing. Anthony “Swoff” Swofford (Jake Gyllenhall) was a Marine Scout-Sniper during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He lives and breathes for that one perfect head-shot during a shooting war. “I want the pink mist,” he tells us, referring to the blood spray that results from a 7.62mm slug passing through a human cranium.

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Flightplan

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It’s not so unusual to find that Jodie Foster is the smartest thing about one of her own movies. Even when she’s slumming for a paycheck like she is in this potboiler, she projects a level of intelligence that often makes the film seem better than it really is.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Ms. Foster is the smartest thing about Flightplan. Sadly, that’s really no accomplishment, since the seat cushions on the airplane set are smarter than this simple, linear but mind-blowingly illogical rift on Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. If a person had the same level of brain activity found in this script, he or she would be harvested for organs before the doctors pulled the plug.

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Garden State

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Garden State is a charming, if imperfect, film which at least proves that when not saddled with George Lucas’s leaden dialogue, Natalie Portman can acquit herself quite admirably as an actress. This movie has an interesting point of view, sharply written characters but a story that somewhat loses its way during its meandering final third.

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The Skeleton Key

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The Skeleton Key is a mildly effective thriller marred by a twist ending that seems to undermine everything that made it effective in the first place. Like The Others, another supernatural thriller about a woman left mostly alone in a dark, shambling mansion, The Skeleton Key seems to suffer from “M. Night Shyamalan syndrome,” the belief that these quasi-supernatural thrillers require that the plot throw the audience a curve. Unlike The Others, however, the curveball here misses the strike zone.

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