The movie begins with the lines from a book by award- winning war correspondent- Chris Hedges: "The rush of a battle is often a lethal addiction , for war is a drug".
Causation of war is generally the realm of focus for scholars and analysts, but for ordinary people,what counts is not so much the analysis of causation, but rather the personal stories, the human drama of war. The fascination with war can be "almost pornographic in its combination of thrill and terror." But that doesn't mean the details of suffering and the tragedies of death are overlooked. Personal stories of suffering and death make war "a force that gives us meaning"[Chris Hedges]. This is what makes "The Hurt Locker" one of the most recommended war documentaries till date.
The film chronicles the trials and tribulations of a US bomb disposal squad [Bravo company], thrown in the heart of Iraq's modern IED warfare.An intense portrayal of elite soldiers in a dangerous mission of disarming bombs in the heat of combat.Jeremy Renner, delivers the lead role with intense finesse, as Staff Sergeant William James entrusted with the role of leading the team . He replaces Staff Sergeant Thompson,killed by a remote-detonated improvised explosive device (IED) in Baghdad. He joins Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with their new leader . James is the renegade with "I can do anything" fatalistic attitude for whom the thrill of the dismantling IEDs seems to be the ultimate goal regardless of the safety of his fellow team members, others on the scene or himself. In contrast we have Sanborn,committed to "established rules and procedures" and an insecure Eldridge who is paranoid about the safety and security of his colleagues and the civilians in Iraq.
As the city explodes into chaos and the two soldiers struggle to tame their leader, the audience is made to witness the convergence of the three characters in the film, whose contrasting temperaments knit this episodic snap-shots of peril and bravery into a satisfying, coherent narrative. The Hurt Locker" is a near masterpiece of suspense and unrelenting intensity. It is viscerally exciting, adrenaline-soaked tour de force of suspense and surprise, full of explosions and hectic scenes of combat. Bigelow and her team bring an awesome ferocity to re-creating the unhinged mania of bomb removal in an alien, culturally unfathomable atmosphere.
The highlight if the movie is Sgt William James [Renner]. He performs not through complex speeches but through a visceral projection of who he is and what he feels. Initially we see an ordinary,pudgy-faced, quiet Renner who seems to lack the screen charisma to carry a film. But the movie reveals later that there is more to him than meets the eye..He slowly reveals the strength, confidence and unpredictability in the mesh of violent action.In each scene a different facet of James’s personality emerges. We are made to witness a callous Sgt James, mean at times, but there is a fundamental tenderness to him as well, manifest in his affection for an Iraqi boy who sells pirated DVDs and his patient solicitude when Eldridge, under fire and surrounded by dead bodies, has an understandable bout of panic.The merging of actor and character is one of the big things to love about this movie.It's a creepy marvel to watch James in action. "The Hurt Locker is a near-perfect, no-nonsense piece of work about men in war, men at work.
Pitted agianst Steven Spielberg's "Avatar" that boasts of the costliest film ever made, this is a low budget movie made with the aid S16mm cameras to capture multiple perspectives. Its gives the viewer a unique sense of documentary feel while retaining the flavor of a Hollywood film with some action sequences that are wildly unrealistic. The increasingly dangerous and fully realized defusion sequences, all shot from beginning to end in single takes has succeeded in creating a tense realism that translates well to the screen .Bigelow has very adroitly handled her cameras and edited her shots that defines the spatiality so clearly that some sequences, prominently one in which the soldiers are surrounded by snipers on both sides of a sand dune, and Sanborn's gun jams because the ammo casing is coated with sticky blood -- builds up an almost intolerable level of anxiety.
Shot in Jordan at locations close to the Iraqi border, actual Iraqi refugees used as extras, impeccable sound design and special guest cameos by Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes, this film succeeds in creating a visceral experience that shows the promise of being declared best war rendition till date. Nominated for 9 Oscars and another 53 wins and 50 nominations,continued attention among film critics world over makes The Hurt Locker the best reviewed of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.The director has aired aspects of Iraq war that have never before been fleshed out.
What separates this film from the bulk of mainstream cinema that has tackled the Iraqi situation is that it doesn't simply exist as a political polemic, or even a reminder of the humanitarian horrors that plague the Iraqi people.We will marvel at the pinpoint accuracy in mapping the disorienting roads a man can walk down when his job keeps him so close to death, working for what sometimes feels like a distant principle The result is an intense,action-driven war pic, a muscular, efficient standout that simultaneously conveys the feeling of combat from within as well as what it looks like on the ground.
With few days to go for the Oscars and The Hurt Locker already having made its presence felt in the BAFTA awards as well as in reviews, I am sure this movie will make an impression for everyone when it collects a number of awards this time. The Harvard historian Drew Faust concludes in one of her essays; journalists and historians – need to acknowledge the power of war stories. Their job is to create "an orderly narrative," full of purpose and significance, about events that otherwise "would be simply violence," shapeless and meaningless.Thus we are the ones who give meaning to war – so it's up to us to come to terms with the power of war stories. "In acknowledging its attraction," she concludes, " we diminish its power" – we move from being part of the problem to part of the solution. Watch "Hurt Locker" and I am sure you will enjoy the "catharsis" of emotions so truly depicted by the characters giving a coherence to Drew Faust's write up on war stories.