The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker: (Blu Ray) Disappointing. First off, despite being 130 minutes long no characters develop beyond superficial stock figures: ‘badass old-timer’, ‘young suicidal kid’ and the ‘hot-shot maverick that will get everyone killed’ – it’s also hard to feel anything, let alone sympathy, for someone so reckless and that goes AWOL as often as Will James. The plot’s essentially 5 near-identical bomb situations separated by limp character-building that never really covers new ground. On the other hand, it is well-shot throughout and the tension of each action / bomb-scare does come through in parts; the sniper battle was done well, definitely the highlight of the film. The acting’s also pretty good given how flat the characters were, but it was definitely amplified by the documentary feel. The picture’s alright, but the sound is phenomenal, creating a war-like chaos with the constant background noises – brilliant when coupled with the visual style – worth the upgrade. Overall it was too melodramatic and full of pro-American and pro-army tones for me to begin enjoying it: rock ‘n’ roll loving party-hard soldier turns his back on his family to keep saving the day in Iraq… really? It’s clearly a bit edgy (intimate & gruesome bomb scenes), contemporary (Iraq) and overcomes adversity (female director), hence it’s scooping awards, but for me, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Look out for Guy Pearce and Ralph Feinnes before they get blown to bits. Is it the ‘best war film in years’? Probably, but with competition like jarhead and The Kingdom it that really saying something?

Score: 5/10

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4 comments
  1. Castor said:

    Ouch 5/10! My biggest beef with the film was how badly unrealistic the movie was, which is downright disrespectful. Heck, the soldiers are all wearing the wrong uniform! However, I did find the movie to be entertaining.

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  2. Paragraph Film Reviews said:

    I was contemplating giving it less but on a technical level it’s pretty hard to fault this one. Like you say, the story’s so unrealistic (a team of just 3 guys defusing bombs and going AWOL to fix stuff…) Couple that with the shallow characters and it was pretty inane viewing for me!

    I picked this up off the back of it sweeping the BAFTAs so I was kind of expecting another Private Ryan. Inglorious was a way better war film! :p

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  3. good review Paragraph as always, even though your mark is a little harsh. can always count on you not to follow the crowd.
    the sniper scene is the best thing, youre right, and yes the characters are just ciphers but the whole thing drips with tension.
    come on, there wasnt much character development in Point Break either – strange that Bigelow is suddenly an auteur when she just blows shit up, albeit in a tension-filled way.
    i too have a really problem with the ending, even a different choice of music would have sufficed, but the bombastic rock they used as a character (dont wanna spoil it) gets off the plane was a bit silly. although maybe Bigelow is being deliberately ironic.
    i dunno

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  4. Heidi said:

    I’ve noticed the people who saw this film AFTER the hype don’t like it as much as those of us who saw it last summer when it was still in the art house.

    THL received the highest rating on HeidiTown last year (5/5). It was the only movie to receive that rating.

    You have to remember that this was based on the real life experiences of journalist Mark Boal who was embedded with a bomb squad in Iraq.

    Everything comes together in this movie… acting, directing, writing… it’s a high quality, solid film. Unless you just don’t like movies about American soldiers, I thought this one stayed far away from the politics surrounding the Iraq war.

    I left this movie exhausted and thoughtful.

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