While at the Summit Entertainment panel at the NYCC this weekend, I watched an exclusive clip from Katherine Bigelow's film The Hurt Locker. It left me unimpressed and indifferent - which goes against everything I've heard about this film.
The film is about an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team stationed in Iraq. They go around disarming bombs. That's it. I know the premise is sort of dismal, but being the stationed bomb squad in a war torn city usually means things end up being intense.
Spoilers ahead based on the footage shown...
Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) and the EOD are called in to check out a suspicious car engulfed in flames. His squad keeps him covered, watching the surrounding buildings for suspicious characters, while James approaches the vehicle in full body armor.
After kicking the trunk a few times, James opens it to find it filled with explosives. He walks away, takes off the armor and puts on a headset. He lets us know if he has to die, then he wants to do it comfortably. We watch him tear apart the car looking for the detonator.
James' commanding officer notices men acting strangely from the buildings above and orders James to stop what he is doing. The surrounding buildings have been evacuated and there is apparently no longer a threat to civilians.
James takes off his headset and throws it, and he continues to search the car until he finds what he's looking for. As this is happening, there are quick cuts from his teams onto men watching them from the surrounding balconies, heightening the tension. We realize that James' cavalier attitude could not only get himself, but his team injured - or worse, killed.
When he's done he goes back to the team's Hummer where he plays with the bomb's detonation device. Our attention is quickly diverted by the fact that he's confronted by his sergeant about his reckless behavior with a right cross.
Everything I needed to know about the film was displayed in the clip except for the bigger picture of the film. I suppose this should leave me with the desire to see the entire film, but I'm not so sure. The one thing that did make the film entirely more interesting was something actor Jeremy Renner said during the panel Q&A, regarding the relationship between his character and terrorists:
"(James) starts to collect the things that almost killed him and in doing this he begins to gain a respect for the bomb makers."
This simple plot twist, mixed with the fact that James is an adrenaline junkie could prove to make the difference in this action film. Which is something else Renner pointed out:
"It is not an Iraq war film. It's an action movie. It's here to entertain. The Iraq war is a backdrop. You follow their plight, these people doing a really interesting job in Iraq. It educates me, as well as any. This movie could be about any three bullriders and how they approach a really dangerous job."
Perhaps, in defense of the film, the clip wasn't an all encompassing teaser that ends up ruining the broader aspects of the plot. I do, however, like the premise that the main character starts to respect the terrorists because they are fueling the necessity of his job.
If the plot itself can withhold changing the jobs of the main characters then it's probably worth seeing. Then again, I've been wrong before. I guess I'll have to wait and see the outcome when this film comes out later this year.
There is no release date at this time for The Hurt Locker.
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