Monday, March 8, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I’m no movie critic but having just fast-forwarded through much of the Academy Awards and strangely enough also just watched the Hurt Locker on Saturday night before, a few comments.

When I was telling my wife about HL, I’m sure I came across as not thinking it was going to win the Oscar. I felt pretty sure Bigelow would win for Director – if for nothing else as the Academy sticking it to Cameron. Wasn’t sure about Avatar and the big one though. I think I said to my wife it was a good movie but not a great one. Guess I was wrong about that!

The more you hear about the movie HL, the more impressed you have to be. Low budget (I’ve read as low as $11 mil and as high as $16) Were it not for her deal on The Blind Side that will net her many millions more – Sandra Bullock’s normal per movie fee would have taken up most of that budget; craft service the rest!

I also heard Bigelow got paid $100,000 for directing. I hope the studio does something special for her now since the movie is going to take off and make them all lots of money. Probably not Cameron/Avatar money but something substantial.

I checked out Bigelow’s resume. Nothing wrong with it, but she has only done a few small films and a few episodes of TV. Somehow she managed to pull this one off. She’s one year older than me!

What really struck me most was how much I felt like this was real. I knew I was watching a fictional movie but one that felt (most of the time) like this is really happening.

One thing that was sort of missing – not much back-story on the main character. All we get to see is one small scene at home with his child and then back he goes to where he really lives. It could have slowed the movie down but I wanted to find out why he wanted to take the risks.

MINI-SPOILER ALERT BELOW – IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT – SKIP NEXT GRAF

Only one segment didn’t ring true or realistic for me – when he went off-base to track down who he thought had killed the little boy. That seemed in-character but outside the realm of something he could really do. I just can’t imagine it was that easy for a soldier to get off base. Obviously tough for him to get back onto the base.

Most years I don’t see many Oscar nominees. This year I managed to see two: HL and Up. What a contrast huh?

The image that will stick with me is where he starts tracing down a wire to a bomb that leads to more wires and then when he starts pulling on them, a whole cluster of bombs starts to appear. A great moment and an apt analogy for the whole mess in Iraq. The whole thing over there is one big spider web we can probably never unravel (OK mixing my metaphors but hopefully you get it.)

So my chance to play movie critic. Watch The Hurt Locker. Be prepared for a volley of f-words. But if you can handle that, the movie is well worth it.

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