Sunday, 17 January 2010

Review: 'The Hurt Locker', 2008

Review of the film: 'The Hurt Locker', directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 2008

Review title: Reality made real.

Strip away every ‘Holywoodism’ you can imagine in the war film genre and you are left with ‘The Hurt Locker’. Being drawn in so deeply from start to finish along the relentless mission of the Camp Victory platoon, it is only in the final seconds of this tense, earthy and raw feature, when the music of the final credits kicks in, do we feel the release of its grip.

Firstly to comment on the camerawork. It is reminiscent of Paul Greengrass' direction in 'The Bourne Supremacy'. It's shaky, it's edgy, it gets you in on the action. You can connect with what is happening, because it is how you would see and feel the action played out before you. It may not be to the taste of everyone as I found out from the mixed response of my viewing company, but if you would like a steady camera, clean cut experience then perhaps a war movie is not what you should be watching.

The acting is never overplayed. Despite the overtly bravado character of the lead, he maintains control of his performance. Upon his return home in the film I was expecting him to trash the aisles of cereal in the supermarket, but was pleased that we were spared the cliched overdramatic angst to his old, privileged surroundings. The dialogue is often so ordinary that as for watching a film goes, leaves with a slight taste of disappointment, but this is only a temporary madness for one remembers this is its very appeal.

The scenes are created and filmed so effectively, and the dialogue and sequences acted out so well, that it has no need and does not use any music to enhance the mood. I can only think of about 5 seconds after the sniper sequence that has sounds. There is an overriding air of tension as we follow each bomb disposed, each enemy slain. The film has left you gasping the question ‘How do you do it?’ long before Sergeant JT Sandborn (Anthony Mackie) asks that very question to his Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) referring to disposing of the bombs.

This morning the radio tells me a British soldier in a bomb disposal unit has been killed in action. I came away from my viewing feeling like I had tasted the very air and dust and blood of the conflict, and today confilcts rage ever on. This film is the Reality Made Real.

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