If you read my past post “A Thank You to our Soldiers”, you may recall I mentioned "The Hurt Locker", the great new Iraq War movie by Kathryn Bigelow.
I saw the Charlie Rose interview of her on his entertaining show a few weeks ago and I was very impressed. Ms. Bigelow is a fine action director whose thoughtfulness and soft spoken demeanor belies her mastery of the thriller genre. She is a true independent filmmaker who is beholden to no one, she has final cut, a rarity for a woman director.
I admire a woman who can take control and not take crap from people who want to screw with her vision! She's an only child, just like me (I think we have that "take no crap" independent make-up). Her previous credits include Strange Days & Point Break. I couldn't wait for the film to open in Chicago, and it finally arrived yesterday at an “artsy” theatre on the NW side, a few bus rides from my house. So, I was happy to see it on the opening day, after a nice lunch and a little shopping in the busy area. I hadn’t been to that theatre in a few years, and while more expensive, it has a great sound system and classy ambiance. I arrived my usual 15 minutes early for optimal seating. This smaller venue was perfect for the intimacy and immediacy of this tension filled flick.
The movie is full of suspense and action and really has you on the edge of your seat many, many times. Non-stop boots on the ground, balls to the wall drama. It is about a U.S. Army Bomb Squad in Baghdad in 2004. It is based on a screenplay by Mark Boal, who was actually embedded with a Bomb Squad. That realism really shows. One can read about war, and see the msm news footage on cnn (with their liberal spin) all day long, but you really get into the heads & hearts of the Soldiers who are living in this sand trap day in and day out when you view this masterpiece. It does not take political sides, just shows you the real deal of life in a crappy place where each day could be your last. The grimy, dusty narrow streets filled with people who you just can't trust. Are they actually selling DVD's, or planting IED's? That would make me paranoid. It messes with your head, and you either embrace it, or it destroys you.
The film opens with a quote by Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent: "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug". By the end of this exciting thriller, you know why this quote was there.
The hero of the film is Jeremy Renner, who plays Staff Sgt. William James. This is a break out role for him, and he embodies his character 100%. Sgt. James is the bomb diffuser who shows no fear. Sometimes his actions border on reckless, and his EOD disposal squad mates are none too thrilled with his decisions and unorthodox methods - but he gets the job done. He is independent and a bit of a lone wolf, he doesn't always follow procedures. An ordinary by the book anal-retentive type (who does show up and get his comeuppance midway through the film, btw) could not do what Sgt. James does. The psychological makeup of these men who cheat death upwards of 10 times a day, day in and day out, is very different from the average soldier or person. They must have nerves of steel and an intense love of danger. A reckless, devil may care attitude, and the knowledge that they could be meeting Jesus in person any second. This is an adrenaline addiction, the more they do it, the more they have to do it. They can diffuse a trunk load of bombs with robot-like speed and precision, but become overwhelmed at the choices of cereal in the grocery store! I think they have the hardest job on the planet, and God bless them, they are the personification of the word HERO. I thank God we have men like these, and they should be appreciated!
I won't give away too many plot details and precisely what happens, it is better to just sit back and immerse yourself in the events as they unfold. Just when our Hero gets out of one bad situation, there is barely time to decompress when the next challenge shows up. And, when he might have a chance to go back to barracks and relax, he searches out still more danger. It's also neat to see more well known actors in the film. Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient), who I've always liked, and David Morse as the cool Col. Reed. Col. Reed really recognizes what a wild man Sgt. James is. Even he, a hardened veteran, and Sgt. James' Superior, is in awe of the special make-up of this extraordinary man.
I predict that this film will earn Ms. Bigelow an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. She thrusts you into the theatre of war in Iraq. You can taste the sand in your mouth, smell the stench, and feel the vibrations of the bombs as they shake the metal atoms off abandoned cars. This film will go down in history as a classic that does for the Iraq War what Full Metal Jacket and Platoon did for the Vietnam War - in a much shorter time frame. It is Especially timely now, with this weeks' recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is happening NOW! As I've written before, and my wise fellow bloggers have pointed out - this will be happening much more as the months drag on. I urge every American Patriot, and even the un-patriotic, lily livered scum suckers that deride & demoralize our troops every chance they get, to see this marvelous movie. You will then know what our Brave Soldiers go through. They are so dedicated, that given a chance to go home, they volunteer to go back! Who among us could survive even the basic training and many psych ops tests for this kind of life. I'm a tough gal, but I could'nt do it, could You??
The Bunni is giving YOU some marching orders to go and seek out this fine film. You won't forget it and you will have a new appreciation for our Military - the Bravest Men on Earth!