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

Cocktail Hour
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
Happy Monday!


Anonymous said...

See Anthony Andrews in "Danger(UXB)".--Oscar Winner

Anonymous said...

My word, that was a pip!--Allastare Cookie

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Charles Gramlich said...

I've never been to war. I'm glad of that. I don't really want to know what war is like for real. I know enough about humanity's inhumanity to its own species.

the walking man said...

With the exception of WWII I can't think of any good that has come from humanities favorite pass time.

Dave said...

Interesting that you bring up Shell Shock. I am currently reading Feminist psychiatrist Dr. Judith Herman's book Trauma and Recovery. She states that the results of extended battlefield exposure, rape and incest are remarkably the same: Complex Post-tramatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). She also speaks about how the victims of this disorder are victimized again as society tells them to just get over it.

It's one of those books that you can't read yet can't put down.

jodi said...

Darling, I am perfectly petrified at any aspect of war. I have family that have been so mentally affected from it. Maybe, I will catch this one however, on your recommedation. xoxo

Scott said...


I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

Tom said...

I just discovered your blog, and dig it very much, especially your movie reviews. I just watched this film last night; it was intense. Hope it gets some Oscar recognition tonight. Cheers, Tom