Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Hurt Locker

2008 war drama Kathryn Bigelow about the last month of Bravo Company's rotation in Iraq. Bravo consists of three bomb techs, whose job it is to go in and diffuse/destroy IED's and other explosive devises. This is one of those rare war movies that tells the story 100% from the soldier's vantage point. There are no scenes with generals making deals, no ambassadors, no colonels in strategy rooms. It is war from the ground floor. While some high officers might make a two second appearance now and then, the majority of the movie portrays no one higher ranked than sergeant. Other movies have done this before, take the particularly good Black Hawk Down as an example, but most of those movies relied almost entirely on action and violence to keep the viewer going. Hurt Locker, instead, relies very heavily on the psychology of the war. Bigelow doesn't spend time analyzing the war itself and seems to almost disregard the local culture, but her doing so seems very deliberate, as it is an attempt to portray the war as the regular soldiers see it and, let's be honest, I doubt many of them are thinking about the philosophies of the war or the nuances of the local culture. They just want to make it out alive. They say that more people have died coming back down Everest than going up and this flick is quite a bit about that idea. Bravo is almost done, they've almost made it, but that only means that things are tenser than ever and seem even the more precarious for them. The writing is smooth, the story engaging, the direction very tight (there doesn't seem to be a wasted cell of film in this thing) and the performances are very natural. Bigelow did as much as she could to make this movie seem authentic, including using Iraqi refugees as the extras, the Jordanian military as the Iraqi soldiers and by filming it there, with one of the actors having a heat stroke during filming at one point. And it really does feel like you are there experiencing it with them, which means from moment one this movie is complex emotionally and almost always very intense.

Worth Watching

1 comment:

atrain said...

Good stuff man, I'm still not sure about the ending. Either I just don't get it or the music and "rock n rolla" scene is a continuation of his mindset, that he is a wild man and is addicted to the war drug.
Totally agree that it had me gripped from beginning to end, not many movies can do that these days.