arundhathi: (let's go to the movies)
[personal profile] arundhathi
I watched The Hurt Locker last night.

I was somewhat underwhelmed. Okay, it probably didn't help that this week I have mostly been watching Generation Kill, which is (imho) probably the superlative screen version of the Iraq conflict from a western pov. Also, on a much more shallow and personal note, don't have Guy Pearce in your film and then kill him in the first five minutes. That's not cool.

Don't get me wrong, it was good. You should totally watch it. Just not good enough to help me shake the feeling that the awards buzz is driven at least in part by the utter amazement that a woman can make a movie about war. It's what in my head I am calling the Su-Bo factor (because I am lame) wherein things that are merely good (Susan Boyle's voice) are perceived as great because of the context (Susan Boyle's appearance, and the assumption that she was on stage to be one of those tragically deluded contestants the audience is supposed to find amusing).

Which, kudos for breaking the mould and subverting expectations, but getting carried away with the praise has the potential to do more harm than good. Of course women can make incredible war/action movies, just like they can actually join the armed forces and run countries and I heard they can even vote now. Just like men can make incredible (relatively speaking; I am not a fan of the genre) romantic comedies, women can make incredible war movies.

The Hurt Locker, unfortunately, is not an incredible film, it's a good one. The war as drug metaphor is obvious but not heavy-handed. It's capably acted and there is some oustanding cinematography. But I got a lot of that from the first 10 and last 5 minutes. For the rest, I was engaged but not blown away (possibly a poor choice of words). You should absolutely watch it. But then you should watch Generation Kill. Or go out and make your own outstanding action movie by a woman.

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arundhathi

May 2011

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