NOTE: READ MY LATEST REVIEW IN ADDITION TO THIS ONE.
FILM RATING: 3.5 stars
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the DVD release of The Hurt Locker since I first heard about this film from my neighbor Scott back in July. All the press about it has been good since then too. And I definitely agree that it’s a good flick. The cinematography is incredible and the editing top notch. I’m probably noticing editing more and more in everything I watch (film & tv) since I’m in film school learning AVID and editing right now. But that’s what’s so great about editing. You really appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of movies when you understand the editing process for telling stories through film. It really is WAY underrated! But back to the movie. It’s a pretty simple war story about the war that we don’t seem to yet fully acknowledge as a war: the “conflict” in Iraq and Afghanistan. This movie is set in Iraq, but really speaks to war in the 21st century. The film stars Jeremy Renner as a soldier who disarms bombs. While everyone else is running away from bombs, he is slowly walking towards the bomb to diffuse it and render it harmless. Of course this story premise is extremely attractive as a movie. And I loved each of the bomb scenes in the movie. But I guess there was just not enough character development to really pull me into the movie and make it the “Best Picture” of 2009. I did fall in love with the characters and I really admire actor Anthony Mackie who was brilliant in his supporting role as Sgt. Sanborn. And Brian Geraghty as weezly Specialist Eldridge is interesting to watch as a young kid with “issues” from his service in the Army.
Kathryn Bigelow is one of the few women directors in Hollywood making action movies, and The Hurt Locker is up there with Point Break (1991)…her best movie in my opinion. I’ve always loved Point Break since I first saw it in the early 90s. Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reaves at their best. It’s a fast-paced surfer/bank robber movie with some great action sequences and a good story. The bottom line is that The Hurt Locker left me frazzled and on the fence, much like our actual presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I wouldn’t be surprised if down the road I end up watching this movie again and liking it more. Maybe it’s just a little too “current” like so many film and pop culture critics have said about all of the various Iraq war movies from the last few years. But ironically, my favorite movie dealing with 9/11 and the last decade of terrorism is United 93 (2006) by director Paul Greengrass of the last two Bourne movies, which came out over 3 years ago. So maybe time and distance from 9/11 isn’t as important as we think. Maybe a great movie is a great movie regardless of when it comes out? All I know is that I like what I like. So check out The Hurt Locker, Point Break and United 93 and tell me what you think about these movies. Gotta love this poster image from United 93 by the way…