Director Sam Mendes talks about his newest flick “Jarhead.” But don’t expect the Oscar-winning filmmaker to skewer U.S. policy like Michael Moore’s election-year documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” or shine a light on the absurdity of the Gulf War as in David O. Russell’s 1999 film “Three Kings.”

Mendes, 40, focuses on the fighting men, how they got there and what happened to them after they landed in the vast desert. As he did in 1999’s “American Beauty” and 2002’s “Road to Perdition,” he explores complex thoughts and competing ideals in “Jarhead” which opens on Friday in the United States.

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