Sometimes doing the world’s most dangerous job requires, someone who is reckless.
‘ If I’m going to die, I’m going to die comfortable’.
Does it sound ruthless? Yes, certainly it does. When one is exhilarated by the adrenaline generated from the war, this is how precisely they sound.
How do you lead your life when the job that you do is horrifyingly the most dangerous job in the world? And, you are most likely to be killed as we speak, the very next second, tomorrow or maybe end up living until you get reasonably old. How would your life be?
The Hurt Locker perfectly exemplifies these questions. The film does not follow a definite narrative, it starts and ends abruptly. The immersive cinematography takes you into the battlefield as a participant because of the predominant usage of Point Of View (POV) shots, that create and sustain the real time battlefield tension throughout the film. The director of cinematography Barry Ackroyd, primarily deserves the credit for producing the documentary styled visuals mixed with essence of feature films. His major credits as DP include Captain Philips(2013) and The Big Short(2015). Editing of the film is perfectly paced, and the editors won Oscars for their impeccable job. (Bob Murawski, Chris Innis)
Being Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician is the job that I’m talking about so far. The independent turned mainstream filmmaker Kathreyn Bigleow intended to replicate the chaos of war on the screen; audiences to be part of the humvee and get confused in deciding whom to shoot, civilians or potential insurgents; become the fourth man in the unit disarming unexploded bombs, carrying the body parts of the mate who was alive until now.
‘My intention was to put the audience into the soldier’s shoes, into the humvee, and almost ask them to be the fourth man on the team, and have the experience, what the soldiers experience, what is like to walk down on the bomb, and how the world begins to recede, its an epic walk, that’s where the film lives, and if you could put the audiences there and give them that walk, then, i suppose as a filmmaker, I have done everything, I could have imagined to do.’ says the academy award winning director Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, whose other major work credits include, Zero Dark Thirty(2012), Point Break (1991).
The screenwriter Mark Boal went to Iraq and was part of the EOD team for months, went on for live missions and comprehended their dangers in person. That’s how he developed three main characters of the film. ‘The film follows three EOD technicians, in the US Army as they make their way through the last month and half of their tour in Iraq.’, says Mark Boal. He risked his very live for crafting the realistic portrayal of ground realities of EOD Techs. He won the well deserved Oscar for best writing/original screenplay for Hurt Locker. He continues to risk for acquiring stories of brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for greater good of the nation.
The very beginning of the film sets the tension as the opening shot is of the Bot’s POV in locating an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) or road side bombs. They are typically made up of conventional military bombs detonated by trigger. And the tension sustains as not all the bombs are diffused because of the fact, the insurgent who triggers stands in close proximity disguised as civilians, watching EOD technicians attempting to diffuse, and they eventually trigger the bomb, sometimes get themselves killed.
Typically, war movies are geopolitical, exploring the ideologies of those involved in combat. However, Hurt Locker is an exception. Its apolitical. It does not reason the invasion nor propagates the insurgency. The film is more of an introspection and exhibition of psychology of the EOD tech, Staff Sergeant William James, played by Jeremy Renner. ‘ I was captivated by the character. I look back and Its been the most spectacular experience that I have done as a man, and not as an actor.’ says, Jeremy Renner. The character is sort of a rowdy boy kind, wild, reckless, yet emotional and cares humans. He has disarmed humongous number of 873 bombs. One bomb is sufficient to take lives of many. Its because he understands the psych of bombers and operates in similar fashion. He is asked by a senior, ‘ What’s the best way about disarming the bomb?’, he says ‘ The way you don’t die sir.’
The tour starts with Bravo’s company rotation for 39 days in Iraq. During the tour some missions succeed and some fatally fail. His team realises that he is obsessed about being an EOD tech and derives pleasure from putting his life on risk. When asked about it, he says ‘ I don’t know, why i am the way.’ The tour gets completed, and gets back to his family of wife and infant in America. He cannot lead an average civilian life nor as a husband and father. He always mentions of the need for more of EOD technicians to his wife. The film ends with him making the epic walk again. wearing the suit, going towards disarming a bomb. Now, can you imagine the number of days of tour. Whopping, 365 days! ‘ 365 days left in Delta Company Rotation’. Does he survive the tour? Its left unanswered.
Arguably, if there is one film that needs to be watched even without a line of recommendation, then, it certainly is The Hurt Locker. PERIOD!
It was a direct contender of Avatar at Academy 2010, outperformed, and won unprecedented 6 Oscars including Best Picture, Direction, Writing/Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Editing.
Authored by: BT, Film Theorist
Tag: The Hurt Locker, Kathreyn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Jeremy Renner, Oscars, Best Picture, Direction, Writing/Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Editing.