Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Hurt Locker ...unbelieveably absurd

Based on my mixed experience with Kathryn Bigelow's previous movies, ranging from excellent ('Strange Days') to abysmal ('K-19: The Widowmaker'), I didn't know what to expect from her first full length picture in quite some time. After seeing it, I'm beginning to suspect that everything I liked in 'Strange Days' should probably be credited to James Cameron. 

'The Hurt Locker' follows the last several weeks of an EOD (that's Explosive Ordnance Disposal for the non-military) unit rotation in, yes, you guessed that correctly, Iraq. And then the shitstorm starts. Not in Iraq, in the movie. Now we all know that the military have somewhat different idea of what common sense is and that military intelligence is a classic oxymoron, but nevertheless they are not idiots. Even if some are, they have a strict set of SOPs which, no matter how stupid they may seem to a civilian, are literally written in blood. However, every character in the movie seemed determined to act like a complete and utter moron, not only ignoring the normal military procedures, but showing total disregard for common sense and ultimately, for their own life. Examples? Be my guests:

Exhibit A: a bomb disposal robot loses its trailer with some explosives on it. I can't speak for the military, but I guess they would use one of the common sense approaches - get a new trailer, drag the old trailer to safety and fix it, get a new robot, or evacuate the area and shoot on the IED to detonate it. You think? Hell no, the only way to get some explosives to the bomb is to get your retarded ass as close to the bomb as possible and collect your Darwin award immediately. Honestly, if I were the commanding officer of this unit, I'd see to get the so-called bomb expert court-martialed and if the motherfucker somehow got off the hook, to send him to mental care institution and sedate him. Heavily. If not for his own good, then for the good of the innocent bystanders.

Exhibit B: you disarm an IED made from an artillery shell and decide to follow the wire. Upon discovery that the wire branches out in several directions, you either a) follow every branch very-very cautiously and disarm whatever you find at each end, or b) pull the fucking wires as hard as you can in firm belief that the insurgents are total schmucks, bigger retards than you and incompetent bombers, and even if there are secondary detonators, they won't go off? Darwin award number two.

Exhibit C: a car full of explosives is set on fire. By a rifle shot no less, screw the 'Last Action Hero' lessons on how easy cars catch fire when shot at. Never mind the assumption that a two of a three man bomb squad have to secure the area on their own, we already assumed the military are idiots. The real gem here is the so-called bomb expert, who rolls up his sleeves and starts putting out the fire. With the car so full of explosives that 'the suspension is sagging'. Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw ©'Heathers'. 

And you know what? We're only like twenty minutes into a movie over two hours long, and it doesn't improve later. We get the same bomb squad or members thereof repairing their Humvee (sure, no motor pools in the base), trucking out and detonating shitloads of disarmed IEDs in the desert (yes, they are bomb techs, mechanics AND truckers), in a sniper duel (bomb techs, mechanics, truckers AND snipers), you get the picture... I suppose some of these events bear some hidden and wise meaning or serve some purpose, like showing character development, or symbolizing the loneliness of a Man facing a Bomb, whatever, to me it was just a pointless, erratic sequence of illogical actions that could be attributed only to a severe brain damage, Down syndrome or subconscious death wish. However, after the scene with the techs celebrating with friendly punches in the stomach, I think I'm going to go with the brain damage. How are we supposed to relate to these characters, feel compassion or even identify with them after that is completely beyond me.

Truth be told, there are a couple of good things, mostly the rendition of the explosions, these were done in a remarkably spectacular and convincing way. Small, but pleasant cameo appearances by Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralf Fiennes (although I have the sneaking suspicion that his scene was there only to show him on screen). However, none of these doesn't make this movie even remotely enjoyable or convincing - you can safely skip it and you won't miss anything except the demise of Ms. Bigelow's once promising career.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank God someone else realized how awful and unrealistic this film is. For it to have won the Oscar is just plain wrong. If the military was really this incompetent, I would probably be speaking something other than English. A crappy, sophomoric movie at best!