I have to say, in the decade I’ve been on this beat, I have never seen such a nasty surge attempt to hit at a film – and I believe it is coming from multiple angles. The military have their gripes, mostly because they think the idea of a rogue bomb tech isn’t in keeping with the way soldiers and bomb techs really do behave. This Washington Post piece is a balanced report of it – quoting bomb disposal guys in Afghanistan. A less balanced story appears in the Los Angeles Times. There is a Salon piece that takes down Bigelow’s strengths as a filmmaker and attacks her much the same way members of the black community attacked Precious – for not cow-towing to the minority’s central talking points. Hey, at this rate we can have 82 more years of films made by white guys winning awards.
But this Huffington Post commentary by an Iraq vet looks to be a guy who actually gets that The Hurt Locker is strong on theme, deep on meaning – and yeah, takes artistic license with aspects of the war:
The end of the movie is most poignant to me, as we see a soldier used to the stress of combat take on the mundane task of picking out a box of cereal at a grocery store after returning home. Many combat veterans live the same reality — coming home to a vastly different environment after dealing with the stress of combat.
In this way, a veteran might take for granted the scenes that civilian film watchers will find so moving.
By the end of the film, the audience comes to appreciate that the experience isn’t something that happens overseas — the characters have real lives at home. Since I was there, I’m not sure whether that makes my take more or less valid. What I can say for sure is that some of underlying themes caused me to reflect on my own journey through combat and readjustment.
I can’t help but wonder — Is it possible that every soldier that serves in combat leaves a part of themselves in the hurt locker?