My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Number 23: The Hurt Locker (Best Picture Ranking)

The Hurt Locker is a powerful war movie that starts with the message that ‚war is a drug’. This message is personified in the character of William James, played with a wonderful mixture of childlike excitement and believable tension by Jeremy Renner. This way, The Hurt Locker does not only show the terror of a war against an unknown enemy but also the effect on the soldiers who have to fight it. And this way, director Katharine Bigelow managed to create a movie that is both a character study and a war movie and which presents its themes with a strong combination of shocking, horrifying but also spellbinding scenes.

As a movie about the present-day situation in Iraq, The Hurt Locker is not a war movie in the traditional sense – there is no clear presentation of ‘good soldiers vs. bad soldiers’. Instead, the American team in the centre of the story faces an enemy that could be everywhere and nowhere. For them, every civilian could be a terrorist, every friendly face could hide boundless hate. Katharine Bigelow was able to present this situation very believably and that way created a constant tension that dominates the whole picture from beginning to end.

As mentioned before, Jeremy Renner gives a very strong performance in the middle of the movie but he is also surrounded by a very strong cast. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty do wonderful work as James’s colleagues who fail to understand his motives. Overall, The Hurt Locker is an actor’s movie just as much as a director’s movie. The intense performances work in perfect harmony with Bigelow’s images of fast approaching cars, little dots in the distance that could be enemies or just something else or bombs hidden under a thin layer of dust.

The Hurt Locker is not a balanced movie – it focuses on the American soldiers and on their daily dangers. The people of the country they are occupying are mostly reduced to almost faceless killers – but it works in the context of the story since it underlines the problematic situation that the Americans face as they can never be sure who to trust. But the movie also makes sure to demonstrate that the Iraqi people suffer just as much from terrorism as the American soldiers. The scenes with a young, dead boy are almost unbearable and show that all boundaries of human behaviour have been crossed in this fight while another scene of a man who is forced to carry a bomb overwhelms the viewers with its open presentation of death and helplessness.

But The Hurt Locker achieves just as much of its greatness in the more quiet scenes as it does in its display of terror and fear. Especially through Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker demonstrates how these men are affected by the work they have to do. The simple shot of James, standing in a supermarket back home, looking at what seems like hundreds of different kinds of cereals perfectly shows his inability to return to what we would call a normal life, it shows that war has become a drug for him and he knows this drug might kill him but he needs it anyway.

Thanks to this central character and the fact that it doesn’t tell of a ‘conventional war’, The Hurt Locker becomes one of the most layered and fascinating looks at war, hostilities, mistrust and its consequences ever put on the screen.


Louis Morgan said...

Well I do think it is good, but I think frankly some scenes could have been done a little better, such as the first bomb disposal with Renner, which perhaps has a few too many cliches, still it is a good film.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is easily in my bottom 20, a very boring film in my opinion that left nothing in my mind after watching it, it was pointless in my opinion, certainly not better than On the Waterfront, All About Eve or Titanic. I can at least hope Gone With the Wind will make the top 5 (hopefully number 1, although I have a feeling you may choose The Godfther as your number 1).

Anonymous said...

Brilliant movie.

dinasztie said...

Mindblowing movie.

dinasztie said...

Hi, you said you were interested in our performance of Carmen, so here I send you a link to the video (we also play an Andrew Lloyd Webber mix).

I hope it works. And don't worry, it takes a long time while it buffers, so don't worry. Tell me if something's wrong. :)

And here's another performance of 5 old folk dances by Ferenc Farkas which is IMO better:

Have fun!