Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Hurt Locker

“War is hell,” “…for the politicians,” “Born to kill,” “war is addiction”

The Hurt Locker offers a unique and much needed critique of Iraq, avoiding the formulas and clich├ęs provided through Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Paths of Glory or Saving Private Ryan. These each did it well, but the time for over dramatic monologues is on the pause. The Hurt Locker’s story professes the contradiction of war genre cinema – all the critical truths encompassing the terrors of bloodshed will become meaningless unless the destruction is shown and fetishized. This movie will not scatter pacifist sprinkles atop action-filled sequences; it will let the insanity of James speak for itself; expressing his motives as both genuine and formulaic of alienated culture and unjustified war. This is not the new Platoon (as some say), it’s a refreshing revival of the genre.

Alienated with Marshmallows

Cereal smothers the aisle like the rubble of an IED; cartoon characters shout sugar and berries cuddle with grains. Taste verse nourishment, it cries for a decision. William James pauses in distress; the most difficult decision of the day. He says love as a child can fall upon many things – toys, friends, and affection – adulthood fades into one or two. Some may think his child holds top honor, his wife a distant third. Yet perhaps it’s beyond the infant, and his wife is kept around through accepting the terrific direction of Bill’s true love. The precipice of instant vaporization contains a vastly more passionate affair than home life could ever provide. Love for war is actualized through the pain of absence. Bill levels out at home; like Prozac, there are no thrills, other than cereal and baby play. Therapy is sought through battling his own extinction. While a child should prevent recklessness instead it provides envy and inevitable return to a world of destruction, in which Bill triumphs on a daily basis and selfishly lives the only form of existence he will ever understand.

I Know It Hurts

Should Kathryn Bigelow win the Oscar, her and Obama should have a beer and discuss unwarranted praise. Tarantino has perfected the balance between dialogue and coverage; Cameron has led a revolution of visual austerity; Bigelow has failed to live up to this level of genius. Oscars should never award history, only talent. I would say give the film a best cinematography statue, but Mauro Fiore is far more deserving. I would say give it a best screenplay, but considering it sticks within an action-based narrative, the writing is only average and Tarantino is the far greater craftsman. And for the same reason Kathryn shouldn’t get the Oscar just because she’s a woman, Jeff Bridges shouldn’t get the award because he plagiarized Mickey Rourke’s role in The Wrestler. Give the statue to Jeremy Renner, his unknown status and greatly subjective performance is far superior.

Rating: Four out of Four Uncuttable Padlocks

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Up

The Role of the Idol

Reverence for an idea, like a person, inevitably disappoints in delivery. Expectations are constructed through each product of genius, distorting the line between fact and fantasy. It is near impossible to accept the little which divides us from those who enact our dreams. Part of the fantasy is to see the person as beyond human, that the greatness extends beyond the situated ground of most. But success is not provided through divine right, it is self-selection; the courage to veer away from the trampled soil of countless lives prior.

Carl and Eli, brought together through the worship of an idol, let the dreams fade in favor of passion. The new adventure was endearing monotony, and come her death, the sacrifice resulted in lonely discontentment and bitterness. This couple displayed the impossibility of stagnation. The house was purchased because of proximity, to all the amenities that compliment rather than build upon love. But progress does not pause for the individual, and the beauty of a renovated home returned to decay. Cheap thrills, quick dollars, rapidity all attack the senses of an old man who longs to enter a memory.

During the moments when melancholy fails to compete with exterior development, dreams return - without the parental anxiety, or the carefree pursuits of youth or the loving restrictions of marriage – and the mature mind can finally embrace the fantasy once desired. Yet just as that which surrounds us changes us, the dreams that provided grounding change in scope. Balloons cannot distort time, or place us into the memories which fill our thoughts because these memories were created through maintaining the fantasy, the hero, the dream of childhood. And through sharing this unattainable majesty with another, love can trump adventure in favor of becoming adventure itself. The Angel Falls connected Carl to Eli, and as it changed him from a shy young boy into a passionate old man, it directed him into accepting the necessity to keep living, illustrating that the arrival of an old dream is never as good as the journey.