Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker

           The Hurt Locker is an American war film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, centered around an explosive disposal specialist during the war in Iraq.  Bigelow's distinctive dissimilarities from the majority of war-related films is how she portrays the characters in the narrative.  Rather than caricaturing the protagonists as some sort of war hero in a time of need, Bigelow illustrates a more humane and realistic side of the characters.  She shows the brashness, the compassion, the mistakes, the regrets, and the flaws of the characters.  Instead of trying to immortalize the lead by ingraining moments of selflessness, courage, and heroism into the memories of the audience "forever", Bigelow's unsung interpretation of the lead leaves an familiar yet odd encounter with a stranger (MacAdam).

            Perhaps Bigelow's different approach towards war films is correlated with her past being an artist and Linda Nochlin's claim that female artists tend to make works that are "ephemeral" (MacAdam).  By depicting the protagonist as a flawed person, the spectators is able to experience a grander viewpoint of wars that incorporates not a single distinguished individual, but all the rest of the persons involved in the war as well.  Bigelow's "conceptual" standpoint emphasizes the war itself in lieu of parading a war hero (NYTimes).
The Hurt Locker ad

          Another possibility that vindicates Bigelow's deviation from the standard approach is the author's "gender" (Humm).  Humm states the very "signature" of an literary film is pliable by the director that interprets it (Humm).  Corresponding to the auteur theory, the unique adaptation of a literary work is associated in respect to each individual.  However, the cause that digresses a work's signature from the norm isn't simply influenced by the factor of gender or pre-occupation, but a collective history of the interpreter's life.  Despite not being the lone manipulator to the film's distinctive presentation, it is undeniable that gender plays a large role in affecting it; for the dichotomy of genders of male and female have certain common narratives shared only amongst the same gender.

          Despite Bigelow's attempt to paint the lives of individuals at the scene of the war being well-received by the general audience, veterans and military personnel critiques the film being "inaccurate" (Susman).  Viewers with a military background argue the film uses incorrect devices and military protocols.  The screenwriter for the film, Mark Boal, retorts the shortcomings are due to not having a large enough budget for "battlefield re-creations" (Salcido).  Regardless of the verbal oppositions in making the film, The Hurt Locker offers a conceptual grasp of all the unsung heroes of war.  

The Hurt Locker Behind the Scenes Vid

Where the Great Women Artists Are Now by Barbara A. MacAdam,
Kathryn Bigelow by NYTimes,
"Author/Autor: Feminist Literary Theory and Feminist Film" by Maggie Humm
Veterans Fact-Check "The Hurt Locker" by Gary Susman,
Veterans say "The Hurt Locker" gets a lot right and wrong by Joel Salcido,

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