The Hurt Locker Review by Sam

I was planning to review this film over a month ago, but times were a changing, and I kept putting it off. It’s funny how my opinion on this film has varied up and down over this past month, and I’m not really too sure where to start. There are both positive and negative points about the film.

One thing I want to say from the get-go is that I do not believe it deserved the Best Picture title.

The Hurt Locker

Now, let’s sift through the contents of the film, taking a closer look at what I did like and what I didn’t like.

Firstly, all the acting was superb. Jeremy Renner (Staff Sergeant William James) definitely deserved his Oscar nom, and I would even say that Anthony

The Hurt Locker Still

Anthony Mackie and Jeremy Renner

Mackie (Sergeant JT Sanborn) would definitely be deserved of receiving a nod. Their portrayal of the characters was outstanding, and heartfelt. I was convinced by their emotions, and through their performances, I came to understand the trauma and suspense their lives revolved around. It was also interesting and even somewhat confusing to see the three biggest names of the film; Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and David Morse, have no more than 10 minutes of screen time each. I’m not too sure what the intentions were there.

Secondly, the cinematography was up to standards. Now, in saying this, I think Kathryn Bigelow took an easy and even lazy option here, knowing that the gritty look and the edgy and shaky camera movements are the latest craze. Nonetheless, it was quite good, and it really did emphasise the raw atmosphere, and compelled me to feel sympathy for the characters.

On a side note, I did enjoy the suspense that some of the scenes brought. For example, the opening scene of Guy Pearce’s character walking to and from the bomb was great, the first half of the sniper scene between Anthony Mackie’s character and Jeremy Renner’s character was enjoyable (the second half proved to be way too long and unnecessary), and even the scene during the raid of the warehouse where Renner’s character stumbles upon the dead boy was exciting.

Other than those few elements I found the film to be confused in the direction it was taking. The script was dull and didn’t lead anywhere, the direction seemed confused, and there was a whole heap of pointless scenes that tricked the viewer into thinking something great was going to occur, when it never actually did.

Throughout the film, I found myself wondering when the actual story was going to begin. Sure we had the setup, introducing the audience to all the prominent characters, but there was nothing after that. No complication/development, and no real conclusion. Basically, the film was a highlight of events. This had me utterly confused at the fact that this film won the Oscar for Best Writing, as I found there was no real concise story.

As previously stated, there were plenty of pointless scenes that appeared as if they had been added in to create tension, and served no real point to the story. An example of this is the raid on the warehouse where Renner’s character thinks his market-place friend, Beckham, is dead. This was interesting and intriguing, and he spent some time trying to confirm if it was in fact the boy or not, and it appeared as if it was. Then towards the end of the film, Beckham reappears, and the audience realises it was not him who was dead after all. A disappointing reveal to say the least.

Finally, the direction was a bit muddled. Whilst Kathryn Bigelow did portray the difficulties these characters were going through extremely well, I felt she didn’t spend enough time nailing some of the scenes to make them less confusing for viewers, which meant unnecessary time wouldn’t have been wasted.

All in all, I would say that I enjoyed the film in a strange way. I will admit that I was disappointed when the film won the Directing, Writing and Best Picture awards at the Oscars, as I felt Avatar deserved it much more, and Inglourious Basterds should have won the writing award. But I won’t let the poor decisions by the academy (in my opinion) bring down the rating that I give it.

3 film reels.

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2 Comments on “The Hurt Locker Review by Sam”

  1. paul Says:

    “Then towards the end of the film, Beckham reappears, and the audience realises it was not him who was dead after all. A disappointing reveal to say the least.”

    i would recommend watching the film again as this is not the case at all.

    I do agree the guy pierce performance was a bit of a cameo.

    I liked the script. Although i can understand that this is not a day in the life of a solier (coz that would be quite boring) i appreciate that they tied to show the sentiment of this in a hollywood genre, it can be digested with a grain of salt.

    • filmstank Says:

      Hey Paul,

      Sorry, I’m not 100% certain on what you mean about the Beckham thing I said not being the case.

      Since I wrote this review I have watched the film again, and I do recognise this is a good film. Even after the first viewing I recognised it had commendable attributes. I think my review is more “a list of reasons why it shouldn’t have won the awards it did.” But I stand by it.

      Dialogue was a key element to this film, and it was exceptional, and so I see that the script is good in that aspect, I was more disappointed with the script writers lack of a story line. But that’s just me. Each to his own.

      Thanks for the comment, I am very intrigued to how others felt about films that I review.


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