The Hurt Locker Stinks

The Hurt Locker Stinks

I’ve not ever been weary of a film based solely on the fact that it wins awards. And I had no qualms about watching The Hurt Locker, until I got about twenty minutes into it at least.


As far as war movies go, there’s not too much necessity in variation. Battles and the like can only come on a few different ways: win, lose or draw. So the fact that another film is attempting to approximate real life war-zone living and working didn’t seem like to outrageous a concept. Compounding all of this, the fact that the guy from Ministry did the soundtrack made The Hurt Locker seem just that much more interesting.

But before getting into why this film was actually a tremendous failure, its one redeeming quality is the fact that its director, Kathryn Bigelow, won an Academy Award – and was the first women to do so in the director category. So, that’s pretty impressive. The movie was not.

About five minutes into the film, and just prior to the first major explosion, the person I was watching the movie with made some comment about how The Hurt Locker was supposed to be a realistic representation of life in Iraq. I hadn’t contemplated the possibility of the film functioning as propaganda, but statements like that one made it seem pretty likely. There’s no answer as to whether or not that’s the case, but those bathrooms looked cleaner then mine.

Anyway, after being awed by some cool special effects, explosions and horrible acting, my compatriot leaned in and said something to like, “Nothing else looks like this, you know?”

If that were the case, I’d be fine with accepting such a statement unsupported by evidence. But the fact is that a slew of movies have not only been shot in the same way, but the color palette’s been replicated elsewhere innumerable times. The Hurt Locker actually just looks like Saw. Everything from the dark and dingy settings to the sporadic hand held camera work – mostly utilized during scenes when soldiers are attempt to investigate some building – has been seen elsewhere. It’s not that the film isn’t rendered in artistic terms, but figuring this particular effort as some sort of cinematic step forward is just this side of ridiculous.

Of course, winning an Academy Award for directing is vastly different than an actor winning – and this film had absolutely no chance of that occurring. So while Bigelow’s career highlight previously was Point Blank, a stunning Keanu Reeves feature, she can take solace in the fact that enough folks have whipped themselves into a frenzy in regards to war films as to make her career.

Toiling in Hollywood for three decades was certainly tough. And maybe Bigelow deserves an award for that. But even when considering the other clunkers that were winning big a few Sunday’s back, it would seem that The Hurt Locker benefited from being timely. And sometimes that’s all that a piece of ‘art’ needs to get over on the masses.