24 January 2010 | honorhorror
A different and fresh take on American dream.
Thanks to Law Abiding Citizen, which has nothing to do with this movie except one line "someone has to do some pretty nasty things so we can live in our American dream", I came to understand what's the movie is about. Of course, it's not the greatest war movie ever made, and it's definitely not your heroic take on wars. I mean, even movies like Saving Private Ryan and Flag of Our Fathers nailed the icons of heroes into characters' heads when the main objective is to cleanse the dirty war of its dirty heroism. But The Hurt Locker, man, is almost 100% anti-hero.
Everyone who's a role model in this movie has been blown up, from Guy Pearce's character to the Christian Camargo's Col. John Cambridge. The one who survived and screwed around them like a ghost and a jerk was our protagonist, SFC William James. Don't make me wrong, he's a good guy. He started out successful in every mission to get rid of bombs and OEDs, and he's a good shot and strategist too. But, he's also a regular trespasser, a nut-case who does sports in war to win a "reckless" from fellow soldiers, and a failed father figure to his family or any families. There was a very compelling thread in the middle of the movie where James pulled out a personal investigate into the little boy's murder. And it's like a turning point which lead the whole Iraq war into James' personal story. Every time he tried to make a good pursuit in the middle of combat, he messed up the whole thing into a bloody irony. Every friend he made was claimed by death or hatred, or both. When colleagues called him a madman and hostiles considered him a monster, there's really very little human left in him except the adrenaline rush war brought.
So, what's so different about this movie, is it not another Platoon mixed with post-modern concepts like "Gulf syndrome"? No. Like I said, it's a very personal take on a war that's still going on. Clyde Shelton in Law Abiding Citizen is a good mirror to William James because they had everything in common except the former's family were slaughtered while the later's were disconnected. And as common sense tells, the later happens all the time, which gives The Hurt Locker a realistic edge that no recent similar productions can match. You see, American dream doesn't always die in the hands of thugs, breaking into a thousand pieces in tragic slow motion. That's just a stereotype people adopted in their minds from Hollywood. American dreams can walk away on its on feet, echoing in the hollowness of modern lifestyle(if you consider war and war games a lifestyle), making you wonder what the heck had happened. For the record, William James really should be given the honor of a war hero because he saved hundreds of lives by disabling OEDs. But the real hero in him had long been killed, the body disposed in nowhere. He's definitely one of the deepest roles in movies. And if the real figure who provided the character basis for him is still fighting on the front-line, I'd pray for his return safe, sound and redeemed, amen.