Friday, February 19, 2010

Oscarwatch 2010 - The Hurt Locker

As the days tick by and we get closer to the night of Oscars, I am hurriedly trying to accomplish my yearly task of seeing all the Best Picture nominees before the ceremony. This year the Academy has made this task doubly harder, by changing the number of nom’s in this category from 5 to 10. But alas, I have stood up to this challenge and find myself with only two films remaining for consumption before March 7. I figured I’d do a little write up about each Best Picture nom since I’m taking the time to watch them. And everyone values my opinions on movies. I just feel like doing this, okay. Sheesh, leave me alone about it.

So without further chatter, let’s get to our first movie. The Hurt Locker. Watched it the other night on DVD, and thought it was very good. Very intense, but I mean that’s to be expected when you’re watching a movie about an elite bomb diffusing Army squad in Iraq. Jeremy Renner delivers a great performance as SFC William James, new team leader of Bravo Company who thrives on adrenaline, putting himself and team members in danger to get the thrill of dismantling IEDs.

As we watch James butt heads with others on his team, specifically Sergeant JT Sanborn, a by the books guy who’s just trying to make it through the 39 days left in Bravo Company’s deployment. A third team member, Specialist Owen Eldrige seems to be a less experienced solider, who quickly becomes shaken in tense situations. Watching these three men go about missions, life and death situations, or get wasted together tells a lot about what going to war can do to men and their minds.

This movie keeps you on the edge of your seat with scenes so intense you don’t know when or if another bomb will explode, a shot will be fired, or what SFC James will do next. It is also shot beautifully, with Director Kathryn Bigelow giving us an authentic feeling view into the lives of soldiers in Iraq. We see what it’s like to be in cities filled with civilians, and not know if one of them is about to detonate a bomb, or if they are merely watching what’s going on. You start to feel how uneasy these soldiers feel every day, on every mission. Specific slow motion shots are used to accentuate the gravity of certain situations in the movie, making the film that much more effective.

Overall, this is a must see of the year. Jeremy Renner delivers a wonderful, believable performance as adrenaline seeking SFC James, constantly conflicted between the need for thrills and the safety of himself and others.


4 out of 5 on the ever-popular Marci scale.

Nominations: 9, including Director (Bigelow), Actor (Renner), and Best Picture. Don’t be surprised if this one takes home Best Director and Best Picture.