Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Hurt Locker

For my birthday I had a DVD of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar winning movie. I finally managed to watch it last night. I have a fine collection of War Films and although it is a good film in some respects with lots of bangs and flashes, it must have been a poor year if it swept the board at the Oscars.

It is about the men who defuse bombs. We know that they are heroes and far too many have returned home in body bags. It is a job I just could not do. Many years ago there was a television series, Danger UXB, starring Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited) which covered the same ground. This film saved money by using stars like Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lily (Lost), David Morse (St Elsewhere's) and Ralph Fiennes for what looked like a day's filming, and the main parts were played by actors I had never noticed before.

As usual for modern films I had the subtitles switched on, though this just emphasized the profanity of the language. I suppose it it how soldiers speak, but not in my living room.

The hero was a man who was so reckless as to be in love with war - the same character that Steve McQueen plays (rather better) in the old film, "The War Lover". I think the film rather pulled its punches in that the only leading character to die was a wuss of an Army Psychiatrist, who was so naive it's a wonder that they let him travel without his nanny.

I doubt that the film will do much for American/Iraq relations. The Iraqis came over as nasty underhand cowards and the Americans as bombastic drunks. There was one extended passage where the bomb disposal squad go 'Haji hunting' at night. It illustrated the gung-ho nature of the film's hero, but it was extremely difficult to follow what was happening.

In summary just like they don't make Westerns like they used to, they don't may war films either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I finally got it from Netflix, the mail-order DVD shop.

I liked it. It was not political, which I appreciated. It was tense and it showed that some Muslims weren't all that keen on giving their lives for jihad.

There was considerable press whether anyone would want to watch it, given the box office failures of other Gulf War movies such as Rendition and the Valley of Elah. What Hollywood doesn't seem to get is that movie-goers just don't want to pay $10 a ticket to see their country dragged through the mud.

Imagine that!