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The Hurt Locker - A Neutral Take On The Iraq War [USER REVIEW] [User Review]


My introduction to Kathryn Bigelow was “K-19: The Widowmaker” which wasn’t a good first impression, I mean the movie would have been fine had it not been for the atrocious Russian accents on display by the main cast, which distracts from the story. I haven’t seen “Point Break” but through “Hot Fuzz” and “Mythbusters” I know it wouldn’t appeal to me.

Though none of these really was on my mind when I sat down and watched this film, which I had heard a considerable amount of acclaim behind it as well as being a contender for Best Picture this year (Which there will be 10 nominees). And to say the least experiencing this from beginning to end it is truly one of the best films of year and probably one of the best modern warfare films I have seen since “Black Hawk Down.”

One thing I really appreciate about the film while it is set in Bagdad of 2004, it doesn’t take any preachy political stance, instead it is more about the soldiers in the battlefield and how they deal with situations and each other. The film centers around bomb unit members of a Bravo Company and have around 39 left in their tour of duty. SSgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) takes over as leader as the last one (Guy Pearce one of two “Death by Cameos”) got killed while trying to defuse a bomb. James’ approach to bomb disposal doesn’t quite settle well with Sgt. JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) who is his support, and has his doubts about if he is truly qualified to hold his position.

The tension in the film doesn’t come from wall-to-wall shootouts or fancy explosions; it’s in drawn-out tense moments where something might go wrong, the exact feeling needed when you deal with characters in the middle of a warzone. It helps there is no exaggerated trigger happy characters, the characters feel authentic and have their own interesting flaws and characterization. That’s another thing I really liked the fact that it was more about the soldiers and not some big message about the battle they fight, if there is any it’s subtle.

I do see the support of what is called jitter-cam, but I feel it is the most effective in war movies, putting the audience into a tense and life-threatening situation. One of the most effective parts I thought was the sniper sequence, whenever it is seen from the point of view of the soldiers. There are odd bits in which Kathryn decides to slow things down but they are more empathizing on little things like the effect of a shockwave from a bomb.

Overall the fact it is set in modern warfare does not hinder the fact that it is very well crafted and tense movie, and has now jumped to one of my favorites to come out of last year. Do I think it’s a possible Best Picture winner? Could be, but it’s definitely a secure nomination.

Source of the Bitter: RetroGuy09

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
JAS on Mon, 01/18/2010 - 10:22am

Great job on the review RetroGuy09! Its been promoted to the front page. :)

John Rojas on Fri, 02/12/2010 - 2:16pm

Good direction, strong cinematography and solid acting compensate for a script that has very predictable resolutions. This is like "Black Hawk Down" but with the good cop-bad cop archetypes we can spot a mile away. Don't get me wrong, I like Bigelow a lot and I pleased she is getting the recognition she deserves, but the overall film is good not amazing. I thought "Jarhead", while it deals with a different war, is more interesting as far as the internal struggles of a modern day warrior are concerned.