Jarhead (Editing)

Generally, the editor has done a good enough job as I did not notice any jumpcuts in the movie Jarhead. However, I managed to identify a few editing techniques used in the movie. The first technique I spotted was in the starting scene when Swoff was telling the audience about the past events in his life and how he ended up in the marines. I identify this to be the cutaway and motivation technique as some short clips were added into the main scene to show the audience Swoff’s family background, his college life and his girlfriend. At the same time, these clips were also flashbacks on his life, therefore, explaining to the audience why Swoff chose to enter the marines.

The second editing technique I spotted in the film was during the soldiers’ training session. Some of the shots were cut and edited into three separate parts, which made them appear as if they were done on different days. I would identify this to be the continuity editing technique. This technique made it seem as if the soldiers had to undergo many days of gruelling training to prepare themselves for the war.

This next technique is used frequently during the movie, which is the eyeline editing. In several scenes of the movie, Swoff was shown taking careful aim at a target using his sniper rifle, and the audience is shown the telescopic sight from the rifle. This shows that the audience were shown the point of view through Swoff’s eyes. This exact same technique will be used again several times throughout the movie. Another scene in which the eyeline technique was used was during the scene when the soldiers were ordered to demonstrate how the gas masks work by putting them while playing a game of soccer. The audience was once again seeing through Swoff’s eyes from inside the mask. This technique was also again used later in the movie.


Several scenes were also edited to impart to the audience that several passed without much happening in the camp. Short scenes of the soldiers going about their normal routines, shadows of the sun setting seen on the desert grounds, and the sunrise all comes to tell the audience that nothing exciting or important was happening, and all those ordinary routines were skipped.

Acceleration editing was used in the scene when the reporter was interviewing the soldiers. The reporter asked them a few of the same questions, and each of their interview session was edited to show each of them reacting differently to the same questions. It showed how different their characters were, and also added a touch of humour to the scene. It would be far more boring if this scene were not edited, and the soldiers were shown being interviewed each in turn.

In many other scenes, continuity editing was also used to exclude all the uninteresting parts. For example, when Swoff was riding on the army truck with his sniper partner Troy, to another camp, the ride was cut short. They were both seen sitting at the back of the truck with a few other soldiers for a few seconds, then the next scene showed them arriving at the camp. Another edited scene was towards the end of the movie, when Swoff and Troy were taking the long trek in the desert back to their campsite. It would be time-consuming to film them walking all the way back to the camp. Therefore, continuity editing was used to make the journey short.

Parallel editing was used again in the Christmas Eve scene. While Swoff and his other comrades were busy celebrating inside the tent, Fergus had to take over Swoff’s watch shift outside. Both sides were shown simultaneously.






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