Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Movie Meme Day 3 - Favorite Oscar-nominated movie from most recent ballot

In the interest of full disclosure, I have either purchased or been given the following movies that could also qualify for this post: Sherlock Holmes, Inglorious Basterds, Julie and Julia, Up, The Blind Side and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. However, I'm choosing the best one and my favorite, though potentially a movie I might not see again - The Hurt Locker.  I will actually steal from my previous review of this movie.

Most people know it's about a group of soldiers in Iraq, and directed by now Oscar Winner (and heroine of divorced women everywhere) Kathryn Bigelow (James Cameron's ex-wife) and that it's on lots of best-of lists. That was all I knew when I saw it. Here's a bit more: Jeremy Renner (I loved him on the now canceled "The Unusuals") is the lead actor playing a bomb tech brought in to lead a unit. He's a bit of a loose cannon, though it's not explained why, which is a nice change. He's just been a very successful bomb tech (obviously, he's still alive) and has used his methods of basically not being afraid to get him there. The unit he's joined, with Anthony Mackie (left in the photo), who likes to follow all protocols and make sure everyone is very safe (hard to fault him there - they're in Iraq disarming bombs) and Brian Geraghty who seems to be suffering a lot of stress, possibly because he works with bombs. The trio is called in to disarm IEDs and remove explosive things from all over Baghdad. It's got to be the worst job in the army - so stressful and if you mess up, you'll die, and likely you'll kill all the people around you. But Renner has found an inner strength to survive doing the job, and his team struggles to find their own methods to work with him.

There are lots of smaller scenes that have little to do with their bomb job that give depth to the story of the war, without ever mentioning the reasons, the patriotism, the enemies, the allies, etc. In reality, this story could take place during a war waged for any reason in almost any place. Obviously, it takes place in a city in a desert, but all the specifics of the war are left out of the story. Our bomb trio meets up with a group of British soldiers, but the only thing to identify them as from an allied force is that they have British accents, and mention they're on the same side. I really liked this fact about the movie. It's about the soliders, not the war. Yes, you're scared almost every time you see them go out to disarm a bomb, and most of the tension of the film comes from that idea, and not the overwhelming stress of winning or losing the war, but rather a small, specific, extremely important task. The directing of the movie is terrific, giving lingering views of everything they do without ever losing focus on the story. In addition, the acting is extremely capable, believable, and draws you in to care about each one.
Very good movie - go get the DVD. 5 of 5 stars/lambs


David Bishop said...

I've had the DVD for months but still haven't watched it. I think I should tender my resignation as a fan of good movies, no?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

So weird that both of us chose films directed by women (but then again, the fact that the women directed excellent films last year is a bit obvious).

Jess said...

David - I highly recommend checking it out. Obviously I really liked it.

Andrew - I have to disagree with your love of Bright Star, and I still haven't seen An Education, but your general love for British cinema is totally awesome.

Rachel said...

I don't "do" war movies, but I gave in so I could watch all the ten best pic nominees this year. And it was qutie brilliant. I'm with you on not being able to watch it again, but maybe in a year or two. Out of the 10 nominees this past year, I think it was one of two that belonged on the list.