The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008)
In my attempt to watch the entire selection of movies nominated for the Oscars I will review here, in my opinion, probably the nearest to be the best film of the year (to me it was Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds who got the pole); Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker.
Well, now you're thinking this review will be tainted with optimism... This is about right, you'll see! First of all, I read yesterday on IMDb.com that an Iraq vet wrote that this movie "sucked" because "all the critics said it was realism but they didn't even got onto the battleground, etc." Well, to be honest I've never been on the battleground either. But, to respond to "that movie sucked" the treatment of the film was all about realism and it would have been a sci-fi flick filmed this way and I would have said that it was realistic. The Hurt Locker is a fiction and it shows us the vision of the writer and Bigelow's mise en scène of Iraq, not what is exactly Iraq. We (I speak for the lucky persons (civils) who lives in North America) can't understand or know what is realistic or not about the war in Iraq or in any place in the world.
The Hurt Locker diserves all the praise it receives because it keeps us on the top of our seats from the beginning to the end. As it is written in the first image of the film it is a drug and the viewer understands exactly how the adrenaline the Privates need from their jobs/lives can keep them alive. This urge is translated to the spectator in the urge that we need to see the film and how the action goes.
The plot may seem confusing because it is obstructed by the amazing performances of the actors and the intensity of the many action scenes. This is different of the regular war movie, don't expect Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket here. I not saying they are lesser movies but The Hurt Locker is one of his kind. I think the shaky camera and some unfocussed takes are great for that kind of story and I think that they fit perfectly well here. The few slow-motion inserts give strenght and depth to some fast paced action moments.
As a conclusion, The Hurt Locker is filled with strong moments and intense action scenes which are not common in an Independent author film. But they are handed amazingly. Highly recommended.