Jarhead (15)INSIDE tales of the first Gulf War come to life on the big screen this week with Jarhead, the adaptation of marine Anthony Swofford's bracing memoir that exposed his disorienting firsthand experience of the battlefield.Directed by Brit Sam Mendes, Jarhead (the self-imposed moniker of the Marines) follows "Swoff" (Jake Gyllenhaal), a third-generation enlistee, from a sobering stint in boot camp to active duty. Sporting a sniper's rifle and a hundred-pound rucksack on his back through Middle Eastern deserts, Swoff finds himself with no cover from the intolerable heat or from Iraqi soldiers, always potentially just over the next horizon. Swoff and his fellow Marines sustain themselves with sardonic humanity and wicked comedy on blazing fields in a country they do not understand, against an enemy they cannot see, for a cause they cannot fully fathom. Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx portrays Sergeant Sykes, a Marine lifer who heads up Swofford's scout\/sniper platoon, while Sarsgaard is Swoff's friend and mentor, Troy, a die-hard member of STA - their elite Marine unit. An irreverent and true account of a war that was antiseptically packaged a decade ago, Jarhead is laced with dark wit, honest inquisition and episodes that are at once surreal and poignant, tragic and absurd.