Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Hurt Locker

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : June, 2009
Time : 131 minutes
Director : Kathryn Bigelow; Writer : Mark Boal;
Starring : Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, Christopher Sayegh

Its tense, edge of the seat stuff as we follow the adventures of a bomb disposal squad in Iraq. Well etched characters and almost surreal situations with any Iraqi, even the most innocuous ones being potential villains, make sure the film is a good cinematic experience. But I’m not quite sure what the point of it was…hence the low rating…

We follow a particular disposal squad, comprising 3 people, who’re part of the Bravo battalion and more importantly they have a 100 odd days to go till their rotation ie the date they will be sent back home. The master blaster or the one who has to go and actually defuse the bomb is killed in the first mission that we watch. His replacement, James, is as different to him as is possible. Sanborn, who’s African-American and very efficient at what he does and Eldridge, who is tortured by thoughts of death, are the other two members.
Together they face various situations like having to defuse a dilapidated car, loaded with explosives, parked in front of an office or facing deadly sniper fire in the middle of the desert or encountering an abandoned building which is used to ‘manufacture’ body bombs. Will they make it to their rotation date ? Will their vastly different personalities be able to work together ? These seem to be the overall plot points in the film.

James is an adrenalin rush seeking redneck. He doesn’t follow protocol, prefers to work using his hands than relying on the robot, on occasion will take off his body armor suit while defusing a bomb (if I die, I want to die comfortable) or his headphones (especially if disagreeing with whats being said to him). He thinks nothing of attempting to find the people who set off a bomb by chasing them into the night or trying to be an amateur detective while chasing Beckham (a cute little sub-plot). In short, he’s nothing like his predecessor or Sanborn, who were / are very organized and play by the rules. Their third member, Eldridge, is struggling to cope with the war, is seeking medical / psychiatric help and is easily unnerved by the kind of situations he encounters. James is the most chilled out of the three. He doesn’t think too much about death, about what he does. He is by no means dumb but just not the type to think beyond what he does or what his gut tells him to do.

The film has some key messages. 1. All war is bad. 2. The war in Iraq, against local insurgents, was a particularly bad one. 3. Americans are not regarded as saviours of Iraq by the Iraqi’s but hated by them (unlike what CNN wants us to believe). 4. Maybe, just maybe, if you want to survive the war without any mental scars, you have to be an adrenalin rush seeking junkie like James.
Since the first three messages were already known, didn’t need a film to tell me those, the only one message relevant to this film is the fourth one. And I’m not sure I agree with that. Am not sure if salvation lies in putting yourself in danger at every given opportunity. So in a nutshell, I didn’t quite see the point of the film but enjoyed watching it…

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