Wednesday - March 17, 2010

Category Image Hurt Locker

Okay, I get the point.  Being in an exciting place doing exciting things has a certain intoxicating aspect.  Even General Robert E. Lee wrote that "It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it."  I agree with that sentiment.  As long as you're not the one getting shot or blown up, it is very exciting.

That seems to be the point of "The Hurt Locker."  

Other than that, it's another stupid Hollywood cliche.  

First, there are plenty of inaccuracies.  The HMMWV's used are from 2006 or later, yet the events are supposed to occur in 2004.  Blood shed only moments earlier is not going to jam a magazine for a .50cal sniper rifle.  When you're in the desert of Iraq, you don't drink tiny juicey bags like your toddler has, you drink 1.5 liter bottles and suck it dry very fast.  I find it very hard to believe that a bomb making factory would booby rig a young boy's body within their own facility.  No one, absolutely NO ONE goes outside the wire in Iraq usually without at least four vehicles and a dozen men, and in no circumstances alone in downtown Baghdad.  Not only is that a certain death sentence, it is procedurally unlikely.  Inside of a HWMMV is way too noisy to have a conversation of any sort, especially the sort of touchy feely introspective examination of mortality such as they have at the end of the movie.

These are all legitimate, but admittedly petty points.  If the movie were better they would hardly be worth mentioning.

But the movie isn't better.  It is cliche ridden and promotes the stereotype that being in the military during wartime causes everyone to suffer serious mental problems.

Cliches?  There are only two officers in the movie.  One is portrayed as the typical moron, which is standard for Hollywood.  It seems that our military is led exclusively by morons who think only of their careers.   The other officer is a naive psychologist who feels a need to prove himself to the combat soldiers and joins in on a mission, only to get blown up because he wants to be nice to people instead of being forceful in making them move away.

Where is the EOD team's superiors?  Are they just a bunch of free lancers?  Why is there no one to control this nutty EOD tech?  You'd think that working in EOD requires men that are calm and controlled and that anyone acting stupid would be identified and straightened out fast.  

Okay, cinematic license can account for this behavior and these errors.  I understand this.  What I don't understand is the choice of these idiosyncracies.  

This is a movie made by a woman who is anti-war and decidedly anti-Iraq-war.  She doesn't understand or want to recognize that men at war are smart, hard working, and motivated to win and succeed.  She portrays the military as made up of men who are sick, disturbed and dangerous to their own people.

The point of the movie was to highlight that "war is a drug."  I agree with that, and with Robert E. Lee's love of war's excitement.  But instead of demonstrating this point as a universal truth that must be guarded against ("We should grow too fond of it.") they present it as a degenerate symptom of sick people.  

Someday Hollywood will make a war movie that is realistic and adult enough to examine war and its impact on good people that doesn't portray them as cartoon characters or evil monsters.  Oscar or no Oscar, this movie is an infantile stereotype and trivializes human experience, and demeans men at arms.

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