That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, these ones revolve mostly around films.)

The Hurt Locker

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 5:35 pm—Film

The Hurt Locker (USA 2009, Action/Drama/War), Writer: Mark Boal; Director: Kathryn Bigelow

BD and I recently brought our movie nights home when we rented The Hurt Locker. Somehow, it feels disingenuous to me to break the film down and analyze it too much. Maybe it’s because I know so little about the Iraq War, and only what stories and my imagination tell me about life in the military; maybe it’s because I live in the peace, freedom and security of Canada… I didn’t have this problem writing about Rescue Dawn, but maybe that’s a testament to just how powerful The Hurt Locker is.

Most of all, though, I won’t say too much because the movie speaks for itself. I’m only writing now to recommend it to everyone. The Hurt Locker is set in Baghdad in 2004. A company of American soldiers is nearing the end of its rotation with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit when their team leader is killed in the line of duty. Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) fills in, and the film follows him and his team as they disarm bombs in and around the city, and try to grapple with all that their jobs entail—on tour and at home.

A few minutes into the film, BD commented on how real everything looked. She was bang on. At the risk of sounding naïve, I’d go so far as to say you feel like you’re actually there.

Kathryn Bigelow is an inspired director with a smorgasbord of films to her credit (Point Break, Strange Days, The Weight of Water). For The Hurt Locker, she uses a documentary-style approach—multiple hand-held cameras, often shooting at ground or eye level—that lends an amazing sense of realism. The film opens with a palpable tension that literally had me holding my breath. I had to keep reminding myself to relax so I wouldn’t send my back into spasm again (long story involving Frisbees).

The direction and acting are so impeccable that The Hurt Locker comes across as more of a documentary than a work of fiction. Bigelow creates an immediacy that really brings home what the men in Bravo Company experience; how mundane and routine their days can be, and also how downright unspeakable. It’s a tour de force from Bigelow, and one I hope will earn her a Best Director nod at the Academy Awards.

Hands down, a must-see film.

4 Responses

  1. Danielle

    Can’t wait to see how this one comes into play at the Academy Awards..I will be holding my breath just like I did for a majority of the movie!

  2. amanda

    Hey Dan! There’s some legitimately stiff competition… as opposed to, I don’t know, say, The Blind Side. ??? I think Hurt Locker has a better chance of winning for direction than best picture. We shall see! Hopefully the live broadcast won’t have the same issues our DVD did. 😉

  3. Gen

    After a good night at the Oscar last night I hope that the movie will come back to the theaters. I would like to see it on the big screen.

  4. amanda

    I thought it would win for Best Director, but was happily surprised it won Best Picture. VERY well deserved. I saw it on the small screen … I think it would be paralyzingly tense seeing it for the first time in theatres. Hope you get the opportunity to find out!

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