Some things I noticed about The Hurt Locker.

  1. Guy Pearce is a fantastic actor – see L.A. Confidential, Memento, The Proposition and … Neighbours. So why has he been reduced to celebrity cameos in the likes of this (first ten minutes) and The Road (last few minutes)? He’s better than that.
  2. It’s a testament to director Kathryn Bigelow’s amazing talent for creating tension, and her team’s technical nous, that it only dawned on me after the film that there is no traditional narrative to speak of.  Rather, it is a string of 7 or 8 vignettes, each of which follows a similar story arc: set-up/tension/release.
  3. Tonally, The Hurt Locker calls to mind a fantastic film that I’d forgotten all about – Walter Hill’s 1981 National Guard-in-peril thriller Southern Comfort* which, whilst arguably vaguely allegorical about US involvement in Vietnam, is really all about the interrelations between the alpha male cast and their rapidly fraying relationships .  The scene towards the end of the film, when the two remaining Guardsmen stumble into an ostensibly welcoming Cajun settlement, is tense beyond belief.
  4. I get the feeling that Ralph Fiennes paid good money to be in the movie. There can surely be no other reason for his bizarre “fackin’ ell” appearance.

*Southern Comfort, like one of my all-time favourite films Paris, Texas features a haunting and unforgettable score by guitarist Ry Cooder.  If you have Spotify, listen to the theme tune here.

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