Friday, October 09, 2009

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Lacking both the preachiness of almost every other Iraq war movie and the dedication to embedded realism to which Generation Kill was predisposed, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is, (as the poster suggests) "ferociously suspenseful" and fascinating, both for the genre conventions it dodges and for those that it imports.

It's certainly not one of those stories designed to ram home the point that soldiers do what they do because of their unfaltering love for the man fighting beside them.

I was made to recall one of my favourite shows of the 70s, Danger UXB with Anthony Andrews. The unexploded bomb scenario certainly makes for remarkably tense viewing, such that when you come to watch one of these second time round, the emotional experience is significantly different. (I don't remember such edge-of-seat cinematic experience since United 93, though of course in Greengrass's movie you knew exactly who was going to get it.)

My admiration for Bigelow's film faltered only during the extended spaghetti western-style scene around the mid-point, in which Ralph Fiennes and co put in an appearance as an unlikely group of British contractors. But overall, a landmark war film with fine performances from the central trio.

Grade: A-

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