The Hurt Locker

Well, this is what happens when you’re home sick. You watch a lot of movies. Glad I finally got around to watching this one, because I can see why it won Best Picture last year–thought I was rooting for anything to beat Avatar at that particular ceremony. But anyway. I read up on the accolades the movie received, and was particularly pleased with myself to have the same opinion as Roger Ebert, who of course said it better than I would have. He basically pointed out that the movie made everyone’s roles clear, that every character had a purpose, and that the audience was given all the correct information in order to get to know the characters. That is not to say that it was methodical and obvious and all that. It was just about a very specific group of guys in the army, so there was enough time to devote to their stories.

I feel like it’s difficult to do that with war movies. Half of them are made as blow-up blockbusters, the other half are emotional character profiles, and the Hurt Locker was definitely a rare balance between the two. There was so much tension as James approached each bomb, so much suspense as Sandborn watched from a safe distance, so much pain as the screwed-up guy freaked out every five minutes, and yet there was so much character development, too. I took a particular liking to Anthony Mackie’s Sandborn, because I’d like to think that every soldier protecting our country is as thorough and intelligent as he is. But I digress.

One thing that bothered me, though, was the criticism for this movie. It didn’t get the proper accolades, I think, because it was directed by a woman. I think it’s phenomenal that a woman like Kathryn Bigelow could tell what was essentially a man’s story so beautifully. And yet, according to some critics, much of this movie was factually inaccurate. Which also makes me sad, because she and her crew took the time to film the thing in Jordan, but couldn’t get all the ins and outs of combat correct? Bollocks. And then calling Jeremy Renner the next Russell Crowe? I mean, yes, he’s a good actor and yes he’s got that whole physical resemblance thing working for him, but I hate it when actors are compared to one another. And it always seems to be for physical reasons too. Ben McKenzie gets the same comparison, because he looks like he could be Crowe’s son. It’s unfair. Let actors rise in their own rights.

I digress again. This is a beautiful war movie, and yet it hits deeper than war. It makes you respect the endless, unimaginable efforts that our troops are making, and it makes you wish they were home right now.