Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009) [6]

The Hurt Locker may be a visceral, taut, well-made thriller that gives an in-depth and intense point of view of the soldiers charged with disposing IEDs. Yet I get the feeling watching this that Bigelow has sacrificed any nuanced discussion of the Iraq War and political policy in general in favor of all action all the time. The Hurt Locker does what it does exceptionally well - give a glance into a hectic situation with a good amount of formal accomplishment. Focusing mostly on the macho posturing of Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner) and the idea of war being a drug, the film is practically stridently apolitical. And for what benefit? It apparently drags all sense of nuance out of what James and his crew are doing. They hop from situation to situation diffusing roadside bombs as if in a video game, with Sgt. James perfectly cast as the ballsy hero. The film asks no questions and has no willingness to probe into the geopolitical situation or even address the psychological nature of their characters except to assign traits on the characters. Bigelow has a background in large budget action films and this really operates no differently, the exception being that it has to deal with the Iraq War. Aside from the fact that it is a well constructed film, I have no idea why critics would fawn over this. If they're saying an apolitical film like this says more about the war than some of the other more strident films that have been released, they're wrong. At its core, the macho bluster of action pictures overtakes any keen political discourse The Hurt Locker may have had.

No comments: