The Hurt Locker – Can A Good Old-Fashioned War Movie Win Best Picture?

I finally got to see The Hurt Locker today. I absolutely loved it. I am a big fan of War films and I’d put this one up there with my favorites, namely The Thin Red Line and The Longest Day

Although I’ve yet to see Avatar, I do not want it to win Best Picture. I know I should reserve judgement until I’ve seen it. But I do not see how it can be as good as either The Hurt Locker or Up In The Air. To quote Quentin Tarantino “This CGI bullshit is the death knell of cinema. If I’d wanted all that computer game bullshit, I’d have stuck my dick in a Nintendo.”

What I mean by this is as great as the visuals may be in Avatar and as groundbreaking as the technology is, what is wrong with good old-fashioned movie making? Where the story, the characters, etc are the main attraction? 

Movies are an escape, sure. But some of the most powerful films out there were made on minimal budgets. You shouldn’t need billions of dollars in special effects to tell a story. Well, aside from things like The Lord of the Rings or The Matrix where the adaptation of the source material in the former and the story of the latter were contingent on computer technology.

I don’t know. I feel conflicted. I guess I’ll have to wait and see the film for myself before I’ll know for sure.

Regardless, The Hurt Locker is a spectacular war/thriller. There isn’t a dull moment throughout the whole two hours. Jeremy Renner is captivating. This is definitely one of the great breakout performances of the year. I think he’s got a very good chance of nabbing one of the two open slots for Best Actor this year.

And as for Kathryn Bigelow, all the awards she has been receiving this year are definitely well deserved. I’m a firm believer that if a film is entertaining, thrilling and engrossing from the minute it opens to the minute the credits roll, the director did their job well. Bigelow took on the challenge, while filming in Jordan, and the result is, as many of the posters proclaim, a near perfect film.

Although Oscar has a history of nominating War pictures, one hasn’t picked up the top prize since 1986’s Platoon (unless you want to count the dramas The English Patient (1996) or Schindler’s List (1993) – where WWII was definitely a strong plot point, but battles, etc. are not)

Also, Oscar hasn’t favored contemporary War films since the Vietnam-era. And even then it wasn’t until the war was officially over (if you can call it that) that The Deer Hunter  (1978) won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

So what does this mean to The Hurt Locker? It’ll be the first film revolving around either Iraq I or Iraq II to be up for Best Picture. Notable films touching on Iraq I ignored by the Academy include Three Kings (1999) and Jarhead (2005).

I hope the Academy can see it for the powerful film it is and have the cajones to award it as it well deserves.

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on January 20, 2010, in Review, the Academy Awards and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Three Kings is pretty tragically underappreciated.

  2. Nicely written Marya – and most enjoyable. I only saw The Hurt Locker a few days ago myself via Netflix. Now I’m sorry that I didn’t see went it is being shown in theaters.

    If I may – and this is not directed at you – but at Q. Tarantino. If you get winged as part of some collateral damage – I apologize.

    But QT should be the last person on the planet to disparage CGI.
    In Kill Bill I and II – were people realled stabbed? Did their limbs really get lopped off in all that swordplay?

    And 2) It seems to me that QY had some connection the Grindhouse where Rose McGowan, who as far as I know numbers 2 in the leg department, but in that movie one of her extremities was replaced by a machine gun.

    So he should keep quiet about CGI.

    Besides that you have a terrific website here.

    My own comments about The Hurt Locker are here:

    • Actually, QT refused to use any CGI in the Kill Bill movies. All the effects there were achieved by methods used in Chinese kung fu movies. The one that gets talked about the most is filling condoms with fake blood to achieve a spurting effect. He also says that Basterds used no CGI. I haven’t seen/don’t know about much Grindhouse, but Tarantino’s been pretty vocal about not using CGI (except to clean up shots when equipment or a crew member gets in the way or something like that) for his entire career.

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