I somehow managed to see both main contenders for the ‘best film’ category @ the Oscars this year in the last 10 days. Just a freak occurence after months of cinematic draught.
After ‘Avatar’, ‘The Hurt Locker’ is a different proposition altogether. Oozing with gritty realism it presents us with a side of life that we seem to be familiar – through the TV screen in the news items – yet in truth we know very little about. The presentation of the Iraq war through the eyes of a team of bomb (artisan home-made variety) disposal team is very unnerving.
For me this was a film where the style (cinematography, special effects, sound) communicated far better a message than the substance (script) itself. And that happens very rarely, I think. It reminded me of the almost silent movie atmosphere of Copolla’s ‘Apocalipse Now’. Few words, almost mundane observations, trivialities – yet the images imprint themselves on our retinas.
The main character is neither a typical American hero neither a freak. He seems very ordinary – yet strangely (almost humorously detached. It almost made me wonder whether he was one of those types where death did not matter simply because he had very little left to do amongst us mortals. The final scene becomes the pulling of the curtains, where the truth is revealed: our ordinary lifestyle (with supermarket providing gazillions of choices of cereal) seems pointless to him. He has become addicted to war.
If you are expecting a politicizing/moralising the perils or virtues of warfare – this is not a vehicle for that. Bigellow remains very focused on the subject matter.
Finally, the ‘shaky camera’ effect is exceptionally enhancing to the experience (and remember, this is someone who gets ravel sick playing ‘Didicong Racing’) by giving it a lot of depth.