The Hurt Locker (2009)
I have really been wanting to check out this film. I have seen many war films over the years: Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Jarhead, Green Zone, Black Hawk Down. Those are the first few that come to mind. So, when the film came up on a cable this last weekend, I put it ahead of some football viewing and spent the better part of two hours watching it.
I knew that it had won six Academy Awards, so I was pumped to get this bit of couch time. I'm usually a sucker for the Best Picture Winners. I've enjoyed all of them I have seen since the turn of the Millennium. I admit I have not seen Million Dollar Baby or Slum Dog Millionaire, but I have enjoyed the rest without exception.
My synopsis: While fighting continues in contemporay Iraq, a bomb squad works to eliminate explosive dangers while evaluating their lives at the same time. Some find this their love, while others feel there is more to life.
Highs: The cinematography is well done and there is plenty of action. Some of the bomb scenes are exciting and somewhat intense. Main character is an adrenaline junky.
Lows: There seems to be a lack of a narrative. The characters are not in control of the situation and get moved from place to place almost without cause. I thought the film was going to go someplace with the revelation of a corpse bomb, but that continued to go nowhere. I know the main character's attitude towards the thrills, but the only character arc is in a supporting role of Sanborn where he goes from wanting the thrill to a normal life. I expected more.The suspense was lacking in my opinion. If you want a "bomb" film with some suspense, go check out Blown Away.
Final thoughts: I cannot say this film is a waste of time, but I cannot say it ranks at the top of my list of war films. I think there is so much more that could have been done with it. There are more worthy "true-life" war stories from Iraq or Afghanistan out there. How did it win the Oscar? Were there no other great alternatives? Like I said, the bomb scenes were decent, but...