Thursday, August 6, 2009


Went into this flick with great expectations. Usually that’s a dampener.

In this case, the movie lived up to most of the hype. It has some moments and scenes that seem implausible to me and contradict the supposed power of its realism, which has been touted by critics.

But it also moves and unfolds in a way that engages the mind and nerves to make most of it work as well as a movie can.

If you haven’t heard, it’s the story of a three man bomb disarming unit in Iraq, focusing mainly on the guy who has to actually walk up to the bombs and disarm them before they go off either from timers or remote devices that may be about to be detonated at any second.

Tension. Yes. But also a character study. Which is what has won the film and its director (Kathryn Bigelow, who’s getting a lot of attention for being a female who makes male oriented films, the first to make an impact was POINT BREAK) accolades.

But also be warned that it’s a pretty depressing story in the end. Much like the whole Iraq fiasco has been. And as it especially became when no “Weapons of Mass Destruction” had been found and no flower throwing cheering crowds had greeted our troops as liberators (as the previous administration insisted would happen in both cases) and after our troops were being picked off not by the WWII style combat they were still mostly trained for but by the kinds of devices this movie focuses on.

The acting isn’t always as consistent as the critics have claimed, in my opinion, but it is always relevant to the action and story line, such as it is (very minimal, to great effect). Jeremy Renner is getting a lot of praise for his turn as the main character, and deserves much of that praise.

The other two in the bomb squad are played by Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. And it’s the latter, as the lowest ranking and seemingly youngest, or at least most frightened, who may be the most deserving of praise for my money.

There are also three stars with cameo appearances that were as unexpected as they were well done (Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and David Morse), in a reversal of the usual casting parameters of Hollywood flicks.

But in the end it’s Bigelow’s movie and will probably get her a bunch of nominations, like Directors Guild, Golden Globe and probably an Oscar nomination as well. Which she definitely deserves.

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