I bought this film safe in the knowledge that it had to be something groundbreaking and after pocketing six academy awards with resistance from the likes of Avatar, I was surely onto a winner…..Right? Wrong.
Best Director is the only truly deserved Oscar awarded because she has somehow managed to construct a two hour long film out of three decent scenes. Not since the French fleet of 1805 have I seen such acclamation been awarded to something that is so truly mediocre.
Most of this film consists of an illiterate bunch of thugs beating each other up mentally and physically. It's not that this "boots on the ground" style doesn't appeal to me because it is in the same vein as 'Generation Kill' which was one of the best depictions of modern warfare in the Gulf that I have seen. The 'hook' with 'Gen Kill' was that you felt genuine compassion and empathy for the soldiers, they made you laugh and the script absorbed you into the plight of the Scout Marine.
When this is compared to 'Hurt Locker' which is also taken from personal experience, the only emotion I remember feeling toward any of them is that I wish they would shut the hell up. Dull, inane & repetitive are the three words that summon the script up best.
As I touched upon previously there were a small trickle of scenes that almost redeem the film and all of them fall within the realms of "the bomb disposal bits" which are 40-50 minutes of the film at most. Every other minute in-between them I was staring at the clock. The disposal scenes are very accomplished and are very well portrayed. The walk of solitude, the anticipation and the constant fear that death can come at any moment is ever present but without these rare scenes I don't think I would of made it through the film without switching off.
These brilliant scenes are broken up with mind numbingly boring conversation and character interaction such as "You hit me!" - "No you hit me!" - "No you hit me first!" - Cue a brawl on the floor……such interactions are common and laborious and would be better suited in a "Dannay Dyar" type movie. To add to the melanoma that is the script there are some ground creakingly, cock bogglingly ludicrous decisions made by the lead character i.e. forcing a local at gun point to take him to a strangers house in the middle of "haji" territory. Asking him to wait. Expecting him to and then running back through nutcase central for absolutely no reason other than what turned out to be a time filler. And don’t think I don't understand he got a thrill out of mortal danger. I get it. But this provided me with nothing as a viewer.
What completely ruined all sense of reality was when an ordinary group of American soldiers came to the rescue of the woefully inept SAS. I mean tally ho, gee-whiz and bloody hell. Thank god for the American Troops eh? What would us toothless SAS do with out that rugged, exceptional and special group of men pwhat pwhat? Thank god "the everyday US Trooper who rarely sees full combat because he's in a bomb disposal squad!!!" isn't a completely blundering buffoon who can't shoot straight!
You wouldn't see a group of Scots guards saving a group of CIA agents in the middle of the desert in a British film! In fact, why wasn't it the CIA in Hurt Locker? Why do it? The SAS and SBS are sent over to America to help train their troops. FACT. American directors need to get over themselves. FACT.
Amongst other things that repeatedly flashed my anger were the actors themselves, the over use of the phrase "coulda got us/me killed" and the death of the "recognised" child being revoked to save the audiences feelings. If you ask me Evangeline Lilley should have been awarded an Oscar for managing to keep her role in it to an absolute minimum. WHY IS SHE EVEN ON THE TITLE CASE!?
I can see no other reason why this film has done so well at the Oscars other than that the director is James Cameron's ex-wife and that this would be a very large middle finger to the man who directed Titanic. "Hurt Locker" has piggybacked on this fact and I sincerely believe Avatar was robbed because of it. While Avatar's story wasn't groundbreaking the film was and I can't remember looking for a clock or an escape route once!