View Full Version : Movie Reviews, feedback appreciated

01-15-2010, 04:15 AM
Ok, so I just decided to go for a full major in Cinema Studies and Journalism instead of Digital Arts. I've been writing movie and music reviews for a while, but never really put them out there. I've posted some of my music reviews up on the hip hop review forums on this site and gotten a lot of positive feedback about my writing. Not so sure about my film analysis though. I'll post a sample of one of my reviews of "The Hurt Locker" below and then a link to my blog where the archives of the rest of them are located. Any feedback is helpful. I love to write and love movies and this is the thing that I've struck upon in college that I enjoy and doesn't feel like work, even when it is. WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS FOR THE HURT LOCKER REVIEW.....so you may not want to read it if you haven't seen it already, but I don't give too much away.


The Hurt Locker, Directed by Katherine Bigelow

War films are probably one of the most popular sub genres of the action category. There have been countless movies addressing conflicts from WWI to Vietnam. Why are there so many films concerning war? What is the fascination with it?

Katherine Bigelow's latest movie The Hurt Locker, answers both this question and the question of why the world seems to be in a constant state of war with one simple word: Addiction. The result is a totally fresh take on war movies. The storyline focuses on a squad of bomb diffusers stationed in a particularly violent area of Iraq. It starts out with a bang, literally, as the sergeant of the squad (Guy Pearce), is killed by a roadside IED. Bigelow wastes no time introducing her distinct style of film making, turning the violence of the explosion into a beautiful slow motion sequence of bending metal and shifting sand. From this point on, The Hurt Locker doesn't look back. Staff Sergeant William James (played by an excellent Jeremy Renner) is enlisted to take command of the squad after the initial sergeant's death. James is a loose cannon who recklessly puts himself and others in danger, giving into a strange adrenaline rush gained from disarming the bombs littering the Iraqi streets. Bigelow incorporates countless sexual and masochistic references to his methods of rendering the explosives useless. James, having just disarmed a car bomb sits in the seat of his Humvee, lights up a cigarette and says, "Oooh, yeah, that was good," all the while examining the triggering component of the explosive like some sort of phallic trophy.

One of the most interesting parts of The Hurt Locker is watching the actions of the men and then realizing the presence of a female director. I, being a male kept catching myself identifying with a lot of the macho tendencies that dominated their relationships with each other. One-upsmanship concerning their job in Iraq permeates the movie throughout. The diffusing of the bombs, as I mentioned before, carries so many sexual connotations that it's hard to believe that it hasn't been something heavily discussed by psychologists. Bigelow literally uses the act of the disarmament as a substitute for sex, in a world devoid of any. Almost a type of porn that can be dangerous even if the bomb doesn't go off. The danger here lies within the return to the real world. Sergeant William James returns home, only to find that his life has become boring and dull compared to his adrenaline infused days in Iraq.

The Hurt Locker is a beautiful movie. Bigelow has a knack for visuals, with striking cinematography saturating earlier films such as Strange Days and Point Break. The tradition is continued here. You can almost feel the heat of the Iraqi desert, with high contrast, grainy colors dominating every scene, creating a very gritty, realistic effect. You can almost feel the heat of the Iraqi desert, with highly saturated, grainy colors dominating every scene, creating a very gritty, realistic effect. It's also one of the few films that I've seen in which you can really see smart decision-making concerning violence and death. Bigelow uses a very Hitchcockian methodology when addressing death. I was blown away by a scene in which the squad is caught in a sniper shootout in the desert. The team takes out the first two targets. You see the power of the .50 caliber rifle that they use as the bullets rip through the targets, appearing as red smears on the sand. The last kill however is not actually shown. Instead, the camera cuts to an extreme closeup of the spent shell dropping heavily into the individual grains of sand, scattering each one in every direction. The only indicator of death is James' voice confirming, "Got 'em". It's little things like this that really make you realize exact how much thought was put by Bigelow into the making of this movie.

The acting is fantastic as well. Each character is very different from each other, and each actor portraying them is a relative unknown. Jeremy Renner provides a raw, reckless and oftentimes cold leader for the group. Renner oftentimes reminded me of Daniel Craig, who possesses the same kind of calculated brute. Anthony Mackie is excellent as the voice of reason, a balanced soldier who is the exact opposite of Renner. Brian Geraghty is the newbie soldier, troubled by his conscience and extremely critical of the war that he desperately wants to get out of. The synergy between the actors is remarkable, and yields for some very tense scenes as well as some stingingly funny dialogue.

The Hurt Locker is, thus far, my favorite film of the year. It's surprisingly fresh for a war movie. Excellent visuals, fantastic acting, and deep subtext. Never before have I seen a movie that captured what I personally picture war to be like. Politics and reason are set aside here, and individual narcissism and human nature take over completely, often as substitutes for things that many of us are used to experiencing in everyday life.