johnlink ranks THE HURT LOCKER (2009)

This is a title which will be discussed in Iocaine show 22. I’m very certain that I will not be able to say all I have to say about THE HURT LOCKER in this ranking. This is a layered, interesting, and (personally, anyway) depressing film which went from small Indie title to Oscar winner quickly. There are some spoilers below, but nothing too heavy.

I watched THE HURT LOCKER (2009) on 5.16.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

I can’t remember the last time a movie turned from light and fun to depressing so quickly. If you made a graph of this film with ‘fun’ being one axis and ‘depressing’ being the other, the film would create quite a range of peaks and valleys.

I also can’t remember the last time I saw a movie with so many cameos I didn’t catch. I didn’t recognize Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly or Ralph Fiennes. I’m sure someone paying attention did, but I didn’t at all. The only cameo I did catch was David Morse, a personal favorite of mine, as a Colonel.

The three leads were top notch. I really didn’t know any of them, though I remember recognizing Jeremy Renner as the bad guy from S.W.A.T. They all do a solid job with a tough, tough role. The characters as written do become a little predictable, particularly Eldridge, but the acting never wavers.

This is a beautiful film as directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (at one point Liz turned and said that she would have loved to have seen it on the big screen). Bigelow’s work here is solid, and it is interesting (though I would never say surprising) that she won an Oscar for directing, the first female to do so, on a film which is so packed with testosterone.

This movie had me until the scenes where James returns home. While I understand why they ended this film the way they did, and I understand that not all endings are happy endings, I did find a bleakness to the ending which left me feeling empty. The last conversation between Sanborn and James, into the home scenes, into the last shot just left me feeling like there was no hope.

And, in many ways, that is what this film is about. These guys fight for something they can’t hold or touch, heck James can’t even recognize the people he fights for. There is no chance to ‘get back’ at the ones who wrong you. When you try to do this you fail, or worse, get shot. The most successful guys are the ones who are brutal, and who can’t feel love. The weakest are the ones who are emotional and take their decisions personally. There was a lot of discussion on whether this is anti-war, or pro-war. I find it not particularly either. While I certainly can’t call it pro-war, there is not a decisively anti-war slant either. I do know that it tries to tell a complex story about the men who serve in these situations, and about how hard it is to do. I applaud this film for its craftsmanship, its willingness to go into a tough topic, and for its acting.

I’m just still not sure I like it.



I give the bonus point for the cinematography. The work is stunningly done, and it adds to the feel of isolation, emptiness, and hopelessness of the film’s characters.



~ by johnlink00 on May 17, 2010.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks THE HURT LOCKER (2009)”

  1. Not to nitpick, but I found this movie to be powerful, tense, jarring, and also bleak at times… I don’t think I could use the words “light and fun” to describe this one.

  2. Not nitpicky at all. If that is how it made you feel, then that is how it made you feel! I certainly agree that there were moments which were all of those things, intense, jarring, powerful. However, there were also moments which could nearly be described as ‘buddy comedy’ in their tenor. For me, this had to do with the flippancy of the James character. He was so detached, emotionally, from what happened that I was laughing at a lot of the moments. This didn’t make them less real for me, or less poignant, but they certainly lightened them. The scenes with ‘Beckham’ were light and fun (in the beginning). The drunken brawl scene was light and fun (until they take it too far). Even the car disarming scene, for me, was an entertaining section. Again, I think that part had to do with James’ reaction to what was happening around him.

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