The Hurt Locker

Posted by Lou. The time is 2.45pm here in London, UK.

Finally, on the day it got 9 Oscar nominations, I got to see The Hurt Locker. It of course comes with a whole host of expectations: people have told me it's the best film they've seen in a year, it is a fair chance of the Best Picture Oscar, and of course - and even more importantly - it is the best chance of a female winning Best Director in, well, forever.

I so wasn't disappointed - the film is absolutely fantastic. The story follows a bomb disposal unit on the countdown to the end of their year-long rotation in Iraq. Each sequence of a bomb disposal job is so wrought with tension and suspense that I could hardly breathe. Which carried over into the other more innocuous scenes where I found myself sitting on red alert, waiting for something to happen every minute. Of everything I have ever seen of modern warfare - whether fictionalised or true-life - this has most made me feel like I have had even a teensy, tiny, microscopic peek into what it must feel like to constantly be on alert, constantly suspicious that death is around the corner.

That being said, this film isn't just about the action. The leading character - played a very rightfully Oscar nominated Jeremy Renner - is fucking great. Renner and Katheryn Bigelow have given us a complex, part-madman, part-genius of a protagonist who is perfectly unravelled in a way that surprises and engages. Alongside him are two guys trying to survive to the end of their rotation: one a top-notch professional, one motivated by patriotic duty but in over his head.

The film does not address the political whirlstorm of Iraq - it is squarely and intimately focussed on these men and their task and is almost completely apolitical. For this I felt it actually said something more than more politically-motivated films have been able: we see the struggle to interact and mutual alienation of life in war-torn Iraq and are reminded that on both sides we are dealing with people. My leftie perspective interpreted the final scenes in a way totally different than how an ultra-conservative might, but without this ambiguity diffusing what for me was a powerful insight into the culture of war.

Please see this film and support a hugely important female filmmaker. I'm shocked that it has had such small box office return on such utterly gripping action and characterisation. If Kathryn Bigelow wins the big one, she will wholeheartedly deserve it.

One thought on “The Hurt Locker”

  1. Gahh! Exciting! I skim-read this, being as spoiler adverse as I am - and so excited about seeing this movie.


    Which still doesn't appear to have a release date here! Bastards!!