Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Hurt Locker...I Should Have Known Better

With the Oscars behind us, I thought it might be a good time to check out the highly praised Kathryn Bigelow film The Hurt Locker. For no reason in particular I have made it a practice over the past ten years or so of not seeing most of the Oscar nominated movies that make up the Best Picture category.

With some genius at the "Academy" deciding that there was a need to nominate TEN! films in that category, it was pretty hard not to stumble upon at least a couple of these films. On a side note...ten best picture nominees? Really? can anyone name a year when there were ten movies that really deserved this allegedly vaunted title of being the Best Picture of a given year? Kind of dilutes the value don't you think, when a kid with a Flip Video camera could qualify.

With all of the high praise being rained down on The Hurt Locker by film critics at liberal print outlets like the New York Times, Los Angles Times and Time magazine I really should have know better going into watching this movie that it likely wouldn't portray the military in the best light.

It didn't take long for the first red flag to go up. In the opening credits, Bigelow includes a quote from moonbat "journalist" Chris Hedges that concludes with the line "war is a drug." That was all I needed to see to know exactly what would follow.

The gritty film follows a Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team through a series of episodes where they deal not only with improvised explosive devices but also explosive settings and situations. Most of the film is set a a fairly high pace, with the team thrust from one tinderbox to the next. Some of the scenarios will have you sliding up to the edge of your seat.

The problem is the underlying tone of the film which casts the military leadership the EOD team interacts with, as a bunch of bumbling morons. These guys are either certified, tobacco chewing red necks or desk jockeys who drop lines like "this (war) can be fun."

Does anyone really believe that any member of the military would ever describe war as fun? It's no shock when later in the film this Colonel is blown to bit by an IED when he decides to tag-a-long on a disposal mission.

The portrayal of S.F.C. William James as a reckless, cigarette smoking, adrenalin junkie who just can't get enough action is completely out of character, when compared to the highly trained, incredibly skilled and rightfully cautious men and women who do the job of an EOD tech. This living on the edge portrayal makes for great cinema, but departs reality pretty early in the film.

It is this reckless characterization that has spawned a backlash against the film by members of the military who know the truth about the disciplined soldiers who tackle this difficult job.

Bigelow has been cast by the media as a Hollywood outsider, but this film is a pure Hollywood vision of the military. Know that going in, suspend reality and this ends up being a mildly entertaining film at it's best moments, but often loses it's way as it tries to portray the human side of these characters.

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