April 8, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): The Hurt Locker is a 2008 English movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow with Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty in lead roles. Read the film review at Calcutta Tube.
Film: ‘The Hurt Locker’;
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty;
Director: Kathryn Bigelow;
Movie Review by IANS
Let’s begin with the obvious. ‘The Hurt Locker’ (THL) is a decent, racy thriller with a steady, engrossing pace and camera work reminiscent of the ‘Bourne’ series. The film’s fault, however, is that it was handpicked and overhyped.
At the face of it, ‘The Hurt Locker’ is a series of vignettes in the life of a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. After the death of the first team leader, James (Jeremy Renner) joins Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty).
[ReviewAZON asin=”B00275EGWY” display=”inlinepost”]James’ job is one of caution. But his carelessness, his attempts to defuse bombs at the risk of his team members, makes Sanborn and Eldridge hate him. However, James’ calmness as they are stranded in the middle of a desert brings them together as a unit.
There isn’t much happening in terms of a story, but the film keeps the viewers engaged with well executed and tense shots, witty dialogues and good camera work that flow with the action.
Sadly, unlike the mindless films made in Hollywood, this one does have a mind and an ideology – and a very dangerous and narrow-minded one. In keeping clear of politics, and tacitly justifying war, it gives a dangerous message.
That war is a necessary drug. Yes, war is a drug (the film’s tagline). But war is also politics. Thus a war film cannot be apolitical. It cannot simply be an action thriller.
‘The Hurt Locker’ shows the dangerous attempts of ‘good’ American soldiers to diffuse bombs. Yet never once does it attempt to tell us how the bombs got there in the first place. That is the films main drawback, of cutting out politics and keeping characters black and white. All Americans are good. All Iraqis are bad.
In essence the film represents American cowboy adventurism with the rest of the world. James is a symbol of Uncle Sam. He is strong, experienced but reckless, and doesn’t care about others opinions.
After Sanborn punches him, James merely lifts his cigarette and continues smoking. The punch on his face is the punch of world criticism on America’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Peace is not James cup of tea. Peace is not America’s drug. America needs war. James needs war. In short James is an analogy for America, both of them don’t like peace and love.
It’s a strange that the first ever best director Oscar to a woman had to be for a war film. War’s greatest and most gruesome casualties are always on women.
If you want a more fuller understanding of the war, watch ‘Green Zone’ or rent Brian De Palma’s neglected 2007 masterpiece ‘Redacted’.
‘What’s the best way to disarm one of these things,’ a colonel asks James. ‘The way you don’t die, sir,’ comes the reply. That is also the best way to wage war: the way no one dies. The way of peace. Hope that is the message you come out with after you have seen this over-hyped film.
Movie Review by Sampurn
Verdict: The Hurt Locker-A relentlessly terrifying experienceRating: 4 out of 5*
The Hurt Locker doesn’t really have a conventional plot. Instead, the story is built around the last 38 days the three men in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) squad have remaining in their Iraq rotation. Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), just a kid but beginning to crack under the pressure, and the sensible Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), are simply trying to avoid the titular place that represents “ultimate pain.” They’re both getting over the recent loss of a teammate to what seems like total randomness concerning who lives and who dies. The new replacement, Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) is a wild cowboy of sorts (as pegged by his superior officers), who prefers to detonate devices without his protective suit. “If I’m gonna die… I wanna die comfortable,” quips the cocksure sergeant. To his teammates, James’s recklessness represents a danger to their own well-being. They begin to wonder which is a greater threat, the bomb on the ground or the man in the bomb suit.
The film avoids explicit political statements about whether the United States military’s presence in the region is legitimate or unjustified. Implicitly positive or negative readings of the film’s stance on the War in Iraq probably reflect the beliefs viewers carry into the theater than what’s on screen. This isn’t a coward’s way out for the filmmakers but rather an acknowledgment of the soldiers’ reality. The film goes to great pains to present the challenges confronting them and how they function. When staring at several bombs that need to be disarmed, philosophical debates about patriotism or warmongering aren’t the most urgent things coming to mind. Like its hero, the movie needs its adrenaline fix, but never at the expense of the drama that keeps the anecdotal narrative going. It comes by its thrills honestly, never losing sight of the potential cost in lives. These soldiers do their jobs while acutely aware they could be killed by some of the same people they’re trying to save, but they try anyway. Kathryn Bigelow knows exactly where to place her cameras and how to edit her shots so the viewer always understands where the threat to the characters is coming from and where they stand in relation to each other.
Each of the three lead actors — Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty — deliver seamless and convincing performances that are highly reflective of the pains both physical and psychological; there’s an air of authenticity to each part, and the varied personalities allow for a much broader and far more convincing environment.
Don’t miss this Oscar winner as it goes far beyond action into almost existential excitement, fear, despair (one soldier bemoans how nobody except his parents, who “don’t count,” will care if he’s killed in action).