Hurt Proof

Peter Howell‘s rave review of Kathryn Bigelow‘s The Hurt Locker, which will show at the Toronto Film Festival early next week, raises an obvious question: why doesn’t this Iraq War film have a distributor? The answer, of course, is that all Iraq War pics are thought to be box-office poison. But if a film kicks serious combat ass (along the lines of, say, the last 25% of Full Metal Jacket), there should be a market for it, no?

“Just when you think the battle of Iraq war dramas has been fought and lost, along comes one that demands to be seen — if you can handle the raging adrenaline,” Howell begins.
The Hurt Locker strips the Iraqi conflict of politics and brings it right down to the garbage-strewn pavement, where lives are saved through skill and nerve but lost through bad luck and malevolence.
“The film follows the men of Bravo Company, the elite U.S. army unit tasked with defusing bombs left on Baghdad streets by increasingly violent and determined insurgents.
“The bomb-removal boys have robots and shrapnel-resistant suits at their disposal, but they can’t stop every blast — as we see with devastating impact early on.
“The job ultimately comes down to playing hunches, keeping your cool and staying ever vigilant. If the IED (improvised explosive device) doesn’t get you, the sniper hiding on a nearby rooftop just might. If not on this street, then the next one.

“Gutsy and gung-ho but new to Bravo is a sergeant named James (Jeremy Renner, in a breakout role), a reckless cowboy who has disarmed 873 bombs but is one short fuse away from being blown to kingdom come. He reminds himself of this with a collection of detonators he keeps under his bed.
“His subordinates Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) are shocked by his methods and not shy about saying so, but are loyal to task and team.
“Testosterone flows non-stop and so does blood, but these macho men are just getting the job done. In so doing, they reveal much about themselves and also deliver some home truths about the Iraqi quagmire. This is no message movie, yet insights abound.
“Bigelow knows the male mind and she’s an ace at action, as she’s demonstrated before in films like Point Break and Strange Days. Now she can add titan of suspense to her laurels.
“If you can sit through The Hurt Locker without your heart nearly pounding through your chest, you must be made of granite.”

  • ZacharyTF

    I had to check IMDB to see if it was Guy Pearce in that first photo. If this movie makes it to my neck of the woods, I’ll check it out. Otherwise, it’ll be DVD.

  • Griff

    Bigelow can bring it, as she’s proved. If the film escapes the deary propagandizing of other movies, it might be worth watching.

  • http://www.robertcashill.blogspot.com btwnproductions

    Interesting, could be like Robert Aldrich’s Ten Seconds to Hell.

  • JD

    I don’t see why this should be grouped with the box office failure of other, more issue-oriented Iraq movies. It seems more in line with something like The Kingdom (not specifically an Iraq movie, but you get the idea). That movie didn’t do blockbuster business, but it did make a respectable $86 million worldwide. Glad to hear Bigelow’s back-on-track. While K-19 had its moments, The Weight of Water was an unwatchable disaster.

  • http://getmcneil.blogspot.com/ MickTravis

    “Peter Howell’s rave review of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, which will show at the Toronto Film Festival early next week, begs an obvious question…”
    To “beg a question” means to use circular reasoning (“sharks are a menace because they’re dangerous”).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beg_the_question
    To “raise a question” is to bring up a question, which is what you meant.
    Not trying to be a smart-ass, just pointing out a phrase that gets misused all the time, helping spread the knowledge where I can.

  • Teacher’s Pets

    Wells, did you ever catch Generation KIll? Far and away the best Iraq representation on film yet…

  • Ogami Itto

    I had to check IMDB to see if it was Guy Pearce in that first photo.
    I thought that guy looked an awful lot like Guy Pearce.

  • Dan Revill

    Generation Kill definitely brought it. I heard that the viewership wasn’t particularly high though, even for HBO. It’s too bad, but it’ll probably attract a following on DVD. I know I’ll be picking it up for sure.

  • Markj74

    Looks good. Near Dark, Point Break and Strange Days are wonderful movies.

  • frankbooth

    Mick,
    How long does a phrase have to be used in a certain way before the newer usage becomes the standard?
    I used to get bent out of shape over “hopefully,” which means “with hope.” “Sally hopefully unwrapped the big, pink box.” Not “hopefully, this box contains a Hitachi Magic Wand,” Sally thought.
    But let’s face it — everyone uses “hopefully” in the latter sense. It’s become the norm. There’s just no fighting it. (Don’t get me started on “presently.”)
    I literally NEVER see anyone using “begs the question” in the by-the-book manner. And I mean literally, not “literally.”
    Which begs the question: has the meaning of the phrase mutated?

  • Aladdin Sane

    Generation Kill definitely brought it. I heard that the viewership wasn’t particularly high though, even for HBO. It’s too bad, but it’ll probably attract a following on DVD. I know I’ll be picking it up for sure.

  • markj

    Looks good. Near Dark, Point Break and Strange Days are wonderful movies.

  • http://getmcneil.blogspot.com/ MickTravis

    “Which begs the question: has the meaning of the phrase mutated?”
    Thanks for your call Frank.
    To answer your question, I think as long as there are people who know better and point out the difference, the meaning hasn’t mutated.
    I used to think begging and raising a question were the same thing until I used it incorrectly in print. A reader called me on it and although he was a horse’s ass about it, I’ve never forgotten it. And every time I see “Bull Durham” and hear the announcer misuse it, I smile … because I *know* Ron Shelton knows the difference.
    But there’s also the intrinsic meaning, too. People are constantly saying, “I *could* care less,” when in fact they mean the opposite. Just because we know what they really mean doesn’t mean the phrase has mutated to become any less incorrect when you break it down and think about it.
    Here’s to your fuck, Frank!

  • frankbooth

    Suave…man, you’re suave!
    Irregardless, “could care less” is a whole ‘nother cradle of fish.

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