On friday night I went with a couple of friends to see The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow at the Film Festival. Now a gritty movie about war isn’t the usual choice for a group of three girls, but I was intrigued by the film and I’d won two tickets! Yay! As part of the “Directors’ Showcase” I thought it would probably be a good film and the description was intriguing. From the Film Festival Website:
“Kathryn Bigelow (Break Point, Near Dark, Strange Days) take on yet another male-dominated genre, the war film, embedding us deep within post-conflict Iraq with the phony-toughs and crazy-braves of a US Army bomb disposal unit. Former bomb squad-embedded journalist Mark Boal’s script, Barry Achroyd’s cinematography and Bigelow’s flair for sheer physicality combine to great effect giving the film a rare, street-level veracity. And edge-of-y0ur-seat thriller, and a fascinating insight into men at war and professionals at work.”
Well I was blown away. Walking back with my friends and another friend we ran into at the theatre, I think we were all a bit shellshocked. This is by far the best war film I’ve seen – in my mind out-rating war epics like Saving Private Ryan. In many ways it feels like a documentary because it is so gritty and real-feeling. Bigelow manages to avoid the emotional manipulation and trite political statements that surround so many war films. Her restraint in not making a political showcase out of a movie based in Iraq is admirable. She lets the story of these three soldiers tell itself and the script is excellent. I never once felt emotionally manipulated which is a remarkable feat in a movie that has many moving scenes. I would highly recommend going to see this but will insert a word of caution – it is a war film so it should go without saying that it is very violent and the language is harsh.