Life is a battelfield (day 180)

I saw the movie The Hurt Locker last night.  I'm not sure what I think about it.  I experienced a kind of boredom and confusion throughout, like it wasn't fitting into any trope I was expecting except maybe a video game.  No soundtrack makes it deadpan.  Camera manipulation is slightly reminiscent of a home movie.  No story arc aside from the guy who's afraid to die and indirectly involves an unprepared officer in a dangerous situation.  The thread is a macho bomb diffuser who can't get enough. 

I know I'm supposed to like it because it's directed by a woman and for a war film that's doubly amazing.  But honestly I didn't feel it.  If I'd had to guess I would have said 'directed by a man'.  I know I'm supposed to like it because it's a different kind of war film that is more 'real'.  I agree that it's different.  I'm not sure it's more real.  We are still only shown Americans doing their jobs.  I agree that it doesn't glorify war in the same way but in the end, the macho dude goes back to war because it's the only thing he loves.  I guess that ending is easier because he's a bomb diffuser, not just another soldier asked to kill or be killed. Before he goes back to war we are shown the comparison between choosing cereal in a large fluorescent-lit mostly empty supermarket, and diffusing a bomb.  Yes life is mundane sometimes but seriously, choosing cereal is not representative.  Then we are shown his son and the implication in the monologue is that he does not love him.  Yet the admission doesn't even seem callous because the baby is not of talking age yet, and the soldier shows almost no emotion.  The last shot of him returning to war again reminds me of a video game.

There is seemingly no value judgment about the war itself.  I would argue that making no value judgment leaves it to the default of the war film genre -- war is necessary and aren't our soldiers brave.  The fact that war is incredibly traumatic for all soldiers in the field has never been in question.  I don't think we need a film to bring that fact home.  What we need is a film that makes us think about why it's ok for a country to ask its countrymen to get a gun, put themselves at risk, and potentially kill someone.  In any other situation, killing results in life in prison.  So yes there is a big difference between regular life and war, but it's not found in the grocery aisle. 

A song for this post.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <b> <i> <br> <blockquote> <img> <object> <embed> <iframe> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <style> <br> <table> <th> <td> <tr> <xmp> <del> <span> <s> <fieldset> <legend> <h6> <div> <form> <input>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.