Comments on watching and making films.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow has made a name for herself as being, basically, the only ultra successful female action film director. With a list of films to her credit that includes Near Dark, Point Break, and the critical and commercial misfire K-19, The Widowmaker, Bigelow has spent over twenty years building her name in the industry with films that have been successful, whether that be commercially, critically, or both. Bigelow returns to form, after some time off, with The Hurt Locker, a film about a small unit of soldiers whose job is to disarm bombs planted by terrorists in Iraq, circa 2004.

Jeremy Renner plays the death wish loving Sergeant Williams, with Anthony Mackie as Sanborn and Brian Geraghty as Eldridge, the junior officer who's ability to deal with the war is breaking down as Williams keeps putting them in more and more risk. Williams is one of these guys who has nothing to lose, or at least feels like he doesn't. He has a wife and newborn at home, but whenever he calls them, he refuses to talk, leaving his wife, on the other end, wondering if its him before he hangs up. Sanborn and Eldridge, after having seen their previous Sergeant die before their eyes, are not about to let Sanborn take them down with him.

The Hurt Locker is a singularity among most current war films, in that it doesn't really make a judgement call on whether our involvement in Iraq is good or bad. It simply follows a group of soldiers who have one of the most difficult, most intense jobs in the entire world, and how that affects who they are, both physically and mentally. It is tense, and when Bigelow tightens the strings, she doesn't let up. She obviously has the pedigree to make these kinds of films, but, by the time Hurt Locker is over, there is no second guessing.

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