Monday, May 9, 2011

The Hurt Locker [2008]

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, David Morse
Genre: War/Drama
Rating: General
Comment: "A suspenseful war drama that captured the intensity and unpredictability of the life of soldiers..."

Amidst all the craziness going on in the Iraq War, the movie chronicles the time when the US Army are in the early stages of the post-invasion in Iraq. A three-man bomb squad scour cities where everybody is potentially an Iraqi insurgent and anything could blow up in their faces at any second. All the while the three of them have to cope with the turbulent relationship they have with each other.

What to Expect
1. A strong documentary-like feel to it
2. Tight and suspenseful plot progression
3. An anti-war film

What NOT to Expect
1. A Michael Bay-esque movie
Not as "nearly-perfect" a movie as they say, but it is good.
A gold mine for director Kathryn Bigelow, this movie won her plenty of awards. Frankly I don't pay as much attention to all these awards thingy, because I think they matter less than they would have us believe. But this time around, all those accolades are not uncalled for. The Hurt Locker is a suspenseful piece in ways unlike other war films.

Right off the bat I should tell you that this is no Michael Bay movie. I know I've used that term plenty of times before, but mind you I'm not using it derogatorily. Yes, the movie follows a bomb squad in their missions, but the explosives seen in the movie are relatively few and rather far in between. In this movie, the dangers of explosions were realistic, so nobody calmly walks away from one without so much as getting their hair all ruffled up.

In other words, if you're looking for an action movie or any similarly-paced movie, this is not for you. The tone and plot progression are similar to that of Jarhead [2005] and Lebanon [2009]. I know there was a bit of an uproar about Jarhead, thanks to its false advertising. So I'm telling you right here to have no illusions, there's no Rambo shit here.

If you're able to look past that, plenty of strengths about this movie will pop out, most notably its realism. When I said realism, it encompasses several aspects that include the human drama, unpredictability of what goes on the battlefield and how infuriating the senseless loss of life can be.

Should you see it?
... Depends. A war movie without a gun-totting and trigger-happy protagonist might be off-putting for the mainstream audience. But for those who appreciate a good drama regardless of theme will find this movie a pleasure to sit through.

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