Monday, 7 September 2009

The Hurt Locker

There are certain films I see that make me sad that I’m not an American. Not for the obvious reasons – like America being wonderful and all. But there are some films that  I'm sure become especially more affecting when you’re American. The Hurt Locker is one of these. The Hurt Locker is what could be described as a Docudrama and it is a completely emotionally gripping film. It’s a pity it took me so long to see this – but it was a satisfying experience. 
It's sometime after America's invasion of Iraq and Sgt. James [Jeremy Renner] becomes a new leader of a detonating team after the original leader died after trying to detonate a remote controlled bomb.On his team are Sgt. Sanborn [Anthony Mackie] and Specialist Eldridge Brian Geraght. Their relationship is sometimes tense and always tenuous...but it is through these fragile allegiances that each man matures over the duration of their stay in Iraq.
The performances of the three lead have been praised - and rightfully so. Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are flawless in their portrayals. No doubt the realistic shooting enhances their performances but these are the type of performances where there is no line between character and actor. These men are their characters. Their roles are the emotional juggernauts of the film. Chances are, there is at least one of the leads that you're able to identify with on an emotional level. These are not performances that impress through potent lines and immense actions. It is in those quiet moments, when little or even nothing is said that we look at these actors and see only thiercharacters.
But what makes this film even better are the faultless performances from the secondary cast members. Christian Camargo as Col. Cambridge gives an impressive performance. One that will not be remembered by the end of the year...but a good performance nevertheless. Ralph Fiennes rarely does any wrong - and he continues his trend of great acting here. Unaware of his cameo it made his few minutes all the more moving. Guy Pearce also does well in his cameo. Christopher Sayegh as young Iraqui child is perfect in his small but important role.
This isn’t my favourite film set in Iraq, but it might be the best made just because for most of the film it's certain what it's about and it doesn't veer off. The only thing that I palpably disliked about this movie was the last ten minutes. It took the movie down a notch of me. But that may just be nitpicking on my part. I'd like to defend the ending though against those who think that James has not grown over the film. But its obvious that his decision at the end shows he has grown. He realises that it's more than the thrill here. This is not just a job to him. This is his life. As it stands The Hurt Locker is the best film I’ve seen this year.
I can't think of any reason for you to not go see this, if you haven't already.


Danny King said...

I was lucky and got to see this back in June/July sometime. It's an excellent film, like you said, the performances are terrific. I think we're looking at a Best Picture nominee.

Anonymous said...

I am still mulling my reaction to the film. I know I liked it a lot, but I am not sure if I loved it. I know I cried during Mackie's monologue at the end.

Kurtis O said...

I concur with King's comment about the film's Best Pic nom potential, and I'd be surprised if it didn't turn up in a handful of tech categories as well. I was blown away by how truly gripping this movie is. Bigelow's methods for building tension are masterful, and her vision is uncompromising. To employ a cliche, I was on the edge of my seat.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I'm still not sure if I loved it. Don't get me's a great film. But as I said not being American it has a certain less amount of potency for me. But as Kurtis and Danny say it's great. Certainly won't mind it getting nominated...but I'm sure something even better will come along.