Oscar Ritual 2010: THE HURT LOCKER
March 6, 2010 via Pay-Per-View
Nominated for Best Picture, Directing (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing
I have heard nothing but praise for The Hurt Locker, and none so much as when the Oscar talk began last fall. Of all the major nominated films, this was the one I wanted to see the most. It is a gritty film, a realistic film that portrays the current state of war in the Middle East with such casual telling that you cannot help but be engaged. There are no politics in The Hurt Locker. There are no soapboxes or commentary on right versus wrong. It is simply the story of a soldier’s work in the midst of combat. And that story is more compelling than 99% of the films one has opportunity to see in any given year. In a word, it’s extraordinary.
The heart of the film, onscreen, is Jeremy Renner, playing a man who thrives on his death-defying work of disarming IEDs in Iraq. In the beginning of his story there is a cowboy mentality, but as the film progresses we see just how much of a toll this life can take on even the most steel-hearted of men. And Renner is brilliant in the portrayal. There is a depth to his performance that I’ve never seen in him before, and though it is much to his credit, I also give a lot of that to director Kathryn Bigelow. I believe she is the true heart of the film for she has taken a touchy subject and made it heartfelt and emotional without being the least bit divisive. That a woman directed such a true depiction of an ongoing war without sentimentality or politics is an example to all others in just how to do it. No other director has been able to do that since our troops first went to the Middle East, and for nothing more than that Bigelow should be honored by the Academy. She brought heart to a heartless subject, and she brought the same out of her actors.
I would love to see The Hurt Locker take home the Oscar for Best Picture this year. It has a tough road, being up against Avatar with its technological advances, but I believe The Hurt Locker is what Oscar winners should be: a movie that touches the heart and reminds you of the impact that Hollywood can make on the world. Its impact is the reminder of what is going on outside our little bubbles, and that every action has a consequence. In my mind, it’s best film with the best performances of the past year.
image from Rotten Tomatoes