I saw it in the On Demand menu for a couple of weeks now and I kept passing it by because it didn’t look interesting. “Another war story”. I got it, war is harsh, cruel and it sucks to be over there. I thank the people who go into the service to fight whatever war our country thrusts them into, but after watching just about every war movie known to wo/man… what other imagery needs to be embedded in my head? I just got over all the Nam flashbacks and I wasn’t even there. I’ve had quite a few friends cycle in and out of this hellish war, some wounded and thankfully no casualties, and I had even talked to them on webcams which was a little unnerving. I couldn’t imagine being there first hand.
This film piqued my interest during the Golden Globe Awards show when James Cameron was unprepared for his speech for ‘Best Director of a Motion Picture’ because he thought that Kathryn Bigelow was going to walk home with the award. Yes, I’m easy like that.
The movie itself didn’t deliver what I had expected. It wasn’t really heart tugging, and it didn’t give me the grit, grime and like Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, and Saving Private Ryan.
The movie was ‘good’, but it didn’t fully tell the story and convey the horror of being on violent foreign soil disarming bombs like I thought it should. It seemed to try really hard though!
The Hurt Locker is based on accounts of Mark Boal, a freelance journalist who was embedded with an American bomb squad in the war in Iraq. Director Kathryn Bigelow was familiar with Boal’s work before his experiences, having turned one of his Playboy articles into the short-lived television series The Inside. When Boal was embedded with the squad, he went with the members 10 to 15 times a day to watch their tasks, keeping in touch with Bigelow about his experiences. Boal combined his experiences into a fictional retelling of real events. He said of the film’s goal, “The idea is that it’s the first movie about the Iraq War that purports to show the experience of the soldiers. We wanted to show the kinds of things that soldiers go through that you can’t see on CNN, and I don’t mean that in a censorship-conspiracy way. I just mean the news doesn’t actually put photographers in with units that are this elite.”
If it had a different director, if it turned it up a notch, if it tried a slightly different approach with film, lightening, sound, music, etc– it could have been epic. I understand it got a lot of awards, I get that, it was good. It’s the type of film where you need to do the research on the making of it to appreciate “why” it’s good. If I had to rate it 1-5 stars, I’d give it a 3.5, maybe 4.
While I really liked the characters, the movie should have been more tense– especially for a film where they’re disarming bombs on the side of roads. Perhaps it was intense and my life has just turned my nerves to steel, I don’t know.
It’s definitely a movie worth viewing.
I’m looking forward to ‘The Invention of Lying” which comes out tomorrow. I know it’s probably a C+ movie and I may give it three stars– but the idea gets an A.