28 January 2010 | Argemaluco
An excellent war film
Despite all the acclamation poured into The Hurt Locker, I started watching it with pretty much skepticism, because I think the Irak war has already been examined in cinema from all the possible angles, not to mention that the protests against it feel increasingly tiring and irrelevant (even though they are right).However, The Hurt Locker ended up being a fascinating experience because of its innovative subject, lack of dull ideology, excellent performances and specially, because of Kathryn Bigelow's intense direction.
One of the things I most liked in The Hurt Locker is that it does not pretend to instruct us about the failed reasons of the incursion in Irak, or repeating oil conspiracies or complaining about the lies about the weapons of mass destruction.It is simply focused on the experience from three soldiers specialized in disabling bombs, and it leaves us to interpret the situations from our points of view.And it also shows us brilliant scenes of action and war suspense.
During the first seconds of The Hurt Locker, screenwriter Mark Boal establishes the message from the film: "War is a drug".And during the rest of the film, he shows us the effects of that addiction, making a realistic portrait of the dehumanization provoked by the uncertainty of combat, the impersonal management of the soldiers in the army and the psychological afflictions provoked by the horrible life conditions during war.But all those messages are set in the background from the movie, assimilating themselves to the spectator's point of view.On that way, the main attractions are the incredibly tense missions from the soldiers and the brilliant performances from the cast who interprets them.Jeremy Renner brings a very detailed development, which lets us see his character as a likable and competent man, but who is truly devastated in his soul.Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are also excellent, since they completely become on their characters.By the way, the marketing from The Hurt Locker emphasizes the presence in the cast from Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce and Evangeline Lilly, but their roles are so short that they could be considered as cameos.I understand that strategy, because the main actors from this film are relatively unknown, and in order to raise the profile from this movie, they hired famous names; however that could disappoint the spectators who expect to see Fiennes or Pearce as the centre of attention, when reality is very different.But really...the performances from Renner, Mackie and Geraghty are so powerful that I barely noticed the stars on their fleeting appearances.
What takes me to the real star from this film: Bigelow.The filmography from this director includes some of my favourite movies (Near Dark, Strange Days and Point Break).However, in early 2000s, her career declined with two mediocre movies: The Weight of Water and K-19: The Widowmaker.However, after that low period in her career, Bigelow makes her return to glory with The Hurt Locker, at the same time she created precise, energetic and very exciting action scenes in this movie.However, I have to make clear that the action of The Hurt Locker is not based on massive battles, confusing shootouts or heroic displays of machismo.Compared with the excesses from directors like Michael Bay or Stephen Sommers, Bigelow's action seems slow and methodic...but it is infinitely more striking because of the emotional weight from this film.Besides, Bigelow creates an appropriate sensation of anguish on the action scenes, which perfectly shows the nightmare of being at war.
The only complain I have against this film is that it has a few irrelevant moments.But that does not avoid me from giving a very enthusiastic recommendation to this excellent movie, which is absolutely worthy of the acclamation it is receiving.