Monday, July 27, 2009
Stuff That Almost Killed Me
The Hurt Locker opens with an epigraph that gives us insight into the mind of the main character, William James, War is a drug. As the best war movie I've seen in a long time, The Hurt Locker avoids politics and delves into the reality of three bomb specialist who each have different issues: William James is a renegade, J.T. Samborn is concerned with doing things the right way, the safe way, and Owen Eldridge just wants to go home without dying and his few encounters with the rube military psychiatrist ("War doesn't have to be awful. It's a once in a lifetime experience. You just need to change the tapes in your head.) leaves him no more comforted than when he started. The movie offers no redemption for the William James -- if he's an addict, then this is the recidivist tale. Which makes sense. What in civilian life can offer the intensity of the job he has done for so long?
I suspect not all audiences will love this movie. War is not presented with the high adrenalin intensity of a video game like in some recent efforts in the genre. We don't really see the men in a variety of situations; we mostly see them at work, pulling apart bombs only to find more bombs, trying to disarm a suicide bomber who wants to live, pulling apart the body of a child in which a bomb has been planted. It's not, as they say, for the weak of heart. What little we do learn about them takes on a heightened significance. Perhaps my favorite scene is where Samborn finds a box of stuff under James' bed -- parts from bombs he's detonated. He calls the box, stuff that almost killed me. It includes his wedding ring. It's a glimpse into a life of such intensity that you feel shell-shocked after watching it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Nothing begins at the time you think it did." Lillian Hellman
Drinking writing book suggestion: Check out Charles Gramlich's new book on craft: Writing With Fire! I'm going to get it and give you guys a review, but go to Razored Zen and take a look.
Benedictions and Maledictions