Sunday, March 07, 2010
The Art Locker
Review by Helen San
THE HURT LOCKER is a tense action drama about one soldier’s addiction to war, masterfully directed by Kathryn Bigelow (STRANGE DAYS, K19). The title refers to a place of extreme pain, often used to speak of those injured by explosions. Following three soldiers in the EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) squad in Iraq, the story attempts to capture a glimpse of their heightened fears, hypervigilance, and fragile psyche for the citizens at home. Although the film’s accuracy has been disputed by Iraq veterans, there is no question the movie, realistic or not, is theatrically engrossing. It brings average Americans to the edge of their seats, as empathetic of the suffering of the EOD squad as we can be.
The film has already earned a Best Director award from the Director’s Guild of America, beating commercial favorite and Bigelow’s ex-husband James Cameron (for Avatar) and making Bigelow the first woman to ever win (in 2010 no less, can you believe it?). This is a good omen for Bigelow at the Oscars, where she stands a good chance for becoming the first woman to win a Best Director award there as well. Gender issues aside, I wanted to give the director an Oscar after seeing the film, before I knew who the director was. The storytelling, for the purposes of creating unrelenting suspense and dread, is flawless.
It is no surprise to me then, that THE HURT LOCKER is a critical darling which has earned a total of nine Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture and Best Music. This is composer MARCO BELTRAMI’s second Oscar nomination (the first was 3:10 to Yuma) and long time collaborator BUCK SANDER’s first. Like quite a few movies in Oscar history, once the Academy falls in love with a film, they nominate it for everything from sound editing to cinematography to editing to…you guessed it…music. In such situations, the question burning for film music fans is this: Is the nomination a reflection of public affection for the feature or the exceptional quality of the music proper?
Read the full review here