Posted on 8/04/09 07:07 PM
For a movie about the army equivalent of a bomb squad, there are surprisingly few explosions. And that slow, tense, second-by-second drama is what makes this picture great above all its other positives.
I applaud The Hurt Locker's director for recognizing that great war movies aren't really about the wars. This movie was refreshingly non-biased, and very few scenes carry any political message. Instead, the movie focuses on the strange little world that war itself creates, and lets the well-acted and well-shaped characters explore the dimensions of brotherhood, comradery, and of course life and death.
There are few flaws in this movie. Some scenes don't end as predicted, and sometimes the characters behave in unexpected ways without any real motivation to, but these mistakes are easily forgiveable and are off-screen quickly.
I rather liked the soundtrack as well. Nothing like heavy metal to get the blood pumping. One of the more interesting aspects of this movie has to do with the blaring, chaotic music: it's the main character's favorite. In total silence he quickly and skillfully manipulates pieces of wire and metal to disarm explosives that would shatter his bones and burst his organs. Then he comes back to base, cranks hardcore metal, and quietly focuses. As a character living constantly on the edge, the movie always finds ways to both entertain you with his behavior and show you a little piece of his life. Very well done.
As each of the three main characters is carried through the journey of war, the audience is strapped to their backs, right behind them. As the characters and plot mature, so do we all, in a sense. Like most of the film, dichotemy is key: we learn about lonliness and togetherness, calm and fury, the neverending, and the over-too-soon.