Sunday, August 02, 2009

Hurt Locker

In my last post, I praised Funny People. By all means, see Funny People. But see Hurt Locker first. It follows a US military bomb disarming team. Nearly every second is tense. Set in 2004 Iraq, it maintains the tension and suspense of an old-fashioned thriller or horror movie. Unlike a horror movie, the stakes are so real and the characters so finely drawn that every near-death experience is emotionally draining. Despite being obvious fiction, it has the ring of truth. It's a tough but rewarding 2:20 that left me emotionally raw, with an unstable lower lip, and a heart that kept pounding some time after the credits had rolled. It is punishing viewing, but well worth the pain. Not only is it one of the best war movies I've seen, it's one of the best movies I've seen in some time, and up there with the finest I have ever seen.

It's easy to forget that we've been in Iraq for six years now, and that every day, soldiers and civilians risk their lives. I know I often prefer not to think about it. I forget how lucky I am that I get to sit here in an easy chair with my laptop while war blooms around the world and people live in various hells created by avarice and fear.

. . .

Two days in a row I've posted now. Perhaps I'll get back up to a once a week average or something like it.


La Misma said...

Wow! Such productivity from you, beckett!

I really liked Hurt Locker too. I sat through it with a clenched stomach, but also a feeling of fascinated attention that I haven't felt in a movie for a long time. This one actually felt thought about, and very carefully made. I couldn't believe how effective Ms. Bigelow's tight, close-up camerawork was. It took you right there next to the bomb expert -- it made even a techno-phobe like me stare, riveted, at mechanics and wires because these were connected to sudden explosive death.

I also thought the men were well drawn as characters -- again, something that's really skimped on in movies nowadays. I loved spending such intimate, close-up time with this 3-person team and if the theme of the rogue leader is a little well worn, it was handled here with great intelligence and subtlety. Will James (!?) wasn't a total cowboy, just something of one. He had doubts, and he also seemed to feel self-critical at times.

Kudos to a film that blows up a major star in the first 10 minutes. I was sorry to see Guy Pearce go, but it was the action that brought on the rest of the story, so... But also, the rapport and support between those original three team members was really well created.

Heavens, I seem to want to review this film myself.
I've been thinking about it a lot since I saw it.

Congrats to you for posting twice in 2 days and also for seeing (it sounds like) 2 movies in 2 days! Welcome back to the land of the living.

Anonymous said...

Hey. I haven't been able to keep up with your blog lately. But I enjoy your posts when I can... --s29