Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TIFF 2008 reviews: The Hurt Locker

I won’t say much about The Hurt Locker because later today I’m attending “in conversation with Kathryn Bigelow” and I’ll have more context for a proper review, but I was left somewhat cold. To be sure, it’s a terrifically well-directed piece, and its total lack of politics surrounding the Iraq war is probably the right angle to take on the subject at this point. But it’s about twenty minutes too long, the shakycam hand-held style is rapidly becoming the most overused technique of 2008 (though to its credit this movie didn’t make me want to go peristaltic with my popcorn the way Cloverfield did), and the big-name cameos become distracting much the way they did in JFK. The short screen time afforded to Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes (who actually gives the film a jolt of elegance and sex appeal when it really needs some) explains why none of them bothered flying in for the screening. Worst of all, and maybe this is just a peril of filming in a blazing-bright pale white sand-covered country, Bigelow’s traditional visual style which used to have a great Tony Scott sheen to it is almost nonexistent. Anyway, I might have more later. (**1/2)

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