Thursday, July 30, 2009
Nog and The Hurt Locker (Minor Spoilers)
I saw Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker with a nearly full house and I'm not sure anybody left their seat for it's slightly-over two hour runtime. This is a tense and immersive experience on the big-screen, the story of a three-man bomb squad in Baghdad led by Will James, a charismatic "wild man" who never seems to fail but whose reckless tactics seem to logically pose a threat to the lives of his crew (who, at one point, seem to seriously consider "accidentally" blowing James up to save their own skins). I've been a fan of Bigelow since her great vampire flick Near Dark, and she continues to reveal a mastery of action scenes that virtually every Hollywood director could learn a lot from (if they weren't too interested in hyperactive editing and explosions existing simply for the sake of seeing shit blow up). Unlike the numerous other recent Iraq films (which audiences have avoided in droves), Locker doesn't possess an obviously left-leaning political sensibility. As an opening quote reveals, Bigelow is interested in the kind of personality, like that of its central figure, which finds war an addiction. As we learn in an unexpected stateside coda near the end, war doesn't necessarily leave everyone emotionally shattered. It just leaves some people hungry for more. Watch especially for the long, wordless shot in a supermarket cereal aisle, which tells you something that a lesser film would tell you with five minutes of didactic dialogue. If the Academy doesn't find a place for this in their newly-expanded 10 Best Picture slots, there's practically no point in having the ceremony.