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The Hurt Locker blew me away.
The Hurt Locker (DVD)
Member Name: jeffjen
The Hurt Locker (DVD)
Advantages: Realistic and full of tension
I must admit I thought that despite what people told me and despite my genuine interest in what they had to say, I still wasn't sure if this film was going to be one I would enjoy, but definitely thought it was worth a watch however, as it was described to me as more than just a war movie.
So when I spotted this in a sale in HMV priced at £3 and having a few pounds left on a gift card, I decided to purchase it.
The Hurt Locker features a bomb disposal unit stationed in Iraq and covers the situations they have to deal with. It isn't really a story as such and more like a documentary it seemed to me, not only because of the use of a hand-held camera, but also the following of the dangerous situations the characters have to deal with and revealing their emotions and feelings relation to this. Indeed it felt as if you were following the characters as they go about their business as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, which I felt added a sense of realism, rather than the escapism which often comes when watching a film.
As suspicious activity is reported, the unit move in to defuse a potential bomb. The lack of knowledge about what they are heading into, carries across very well to the viewer and creates an almost unbelievable amount of tension in many scenes. Indeed you are never quite sure what the characters are about to face, but with the knowledge that they are a bomb disposal team, you are always bracing yourself for an explosion.
The film is more of an ongoing situation than an actual story and although you are informed now and then how long the team has left to serve before they complete their tour of duty, you do find yourself thinking that the story element will be that not everyone will survive and make it to the end of the tour and you are guessing just who will be the lucky ones who make it through.
The actors in this film are largely unknown and this actually is a bonus, as you cannot really guess any character's longevity in the film based upon how famous the actor is. There are however, cameo appearances from Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce but they are don't detract from those who really steal the scenes.
The power of The Hurt Locker comes from watching the unit's dynamics evolving. When a new leader arrives and changes are made, the tension and friction which ensues as a result of this is portrayed really well and this is what makes the film so strong in my opinion, as the men struggle to come to terms with their new leader. The emotions and feelings were totally believable, although I did think it was maybe a little over the top at times for effect. However, considering it all again later after I had finished watching, I did think that maybe it wasn't over the top at all.
A number of scenes also feature the soldiers trying to integrate with the local community, with one of the most memorable scenes dealing with the reactions and feelings of a soldier on discovering that one of the local boys he has befriended is now dead with a bomb inside his stomach. His reaction is exactly as you might think, but a powerful message of desperation is portrayed as you witness his futile efforts in the moments which follow.
The Hurt Locker also makes you think. For instance you are shown how a mobile phone can act as a detonator, so when the unit see what could be a civilian on site, with a mobile phone in their hand, it raises the question, do you kill a potentially innocent person or do you take the risk and potentially allow someone to kill you and your colleagues? The fact is that everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.
I did enjoy this film, it was different from the norm and I can understand why it got people talking. It has a sense of realism which for me is often missing when films are made about real life occurences and wars. It is packed full of tension and quite a heavy film, but I am glad I watched it and would recommend.
Released on dvd in 2009, The Hurt Locker is rated 15 and has a running time of 124 minutes.
Summary: Different from the usual war movies.