Day 35 – The Hurt Locker / Pop Chart Lab Scratch #2

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Movie Title: The Hurt Locker

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. and 11 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

The Hurt Locker focuses on a specialist unit during the Iraq War. In addition to their war time responsibilities of patrolling indefensible positions they must all defuse improvised explosive devices at great risk to themselves. Early on we see what can happen if all should go wrong and we are introduced to the tools of the trade. Namely a large bulky suit that seems just as risky to wear as to skip and a robot with faulty wheels.

The unit has a command change early in the movie with a new bomb defusing specialist Staff Sergeant William James played by Jeremy Renner. James is vastly different than the previous commanding officer. While Sergeant Matt Thompson (Guy Pearce) was by the book and cautious, James is off the cuff and borderline reckless. James seems to have a death wish and with a very short stint left on their tour of duty the rest of his patrol is not too keen on following his lead. It seems that James has learned to love the war and that is something everyone else needs to wrestle with.

The action scenes are dramatic and tense. Whether the unit is defusing a bomb, out on patrol, or helping change a tire it is obvious that caution is needed at all times. It is tremendously difficult to see who the enemy is, who is just a bystander, and who is a friend. There is definitely a feel for the fog of war and how soldiers need to routinely make difficult life or death decisions without knowing what the right answer is beforehand. The situation on the ground is pure chaos. The physical and emotional toll this takes on the soldiers is tremendous and adds up over time leading to a messy, depressing finale.

Verdict:

The Hurt Locker won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2010 while the Iraq War was still ongoing. As a reality and a metaphor for the war it seems apt and being a contemporary movie about the war is the reason it won the award. Seeing as Iraq is still a concern more than a decade and a half after invasion the movie is still very relevant. See it.

Pop Chart Lab: Second Scratch

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Before and after.

 

After watching The Hurt Locker today I scratched that as well as There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men which I’ve already seen. Next up on the scratch chart is Brokeback Mountain which I haven’t seen yet.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Mudbound (2017)

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