Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Hurt Locker (2009)

My relationship with The Hurt Locker has been a complex one. From 2009 until 2012 I was absolutely in the bag for this movie. When it won Best Picture and Best Director I was on cloud 9. So what changed in 2012? A little movie called Zero Dark Thirty was released. As good as The Hurt Locker was, that other film was somehow better. It touches on many of the same themes yet in a more complex, less black and white manner. And the things it has to say about America and the War on Terror are deeply profound. So of course it was almost universally ignored come Award Season. The only statue it took home was for Sound Editing, and even that it had to split with Skyfall due to an extremely rare tie.

Ever since then I've been bitter. Why did The Hurt Locker get so much love and Zero Dark Thirty got none? Kathryn Bigelow didn't even get a nomination this go around. Did The Academy figure she'd already been honored too recently? Better not give her another one lest she start thinking she's as good as sacred John Ford or some such! Can't make this honoring women thing into a regular occurrence. One every 82 years is plenty! But I digress...

So yeah, I had begun to unfairly hold The Hurt Locker's six Oscars against it. But then it occurred to me: Why does it have to be one against the other? This isn't sports, this is art! There doesn't have to be one clear winner and one clear loser. Or at the least its like soccer where there can be ties. These are both five-star films and The Hurt Locker's award success does not negate all the numerous merits of Zero Dark Thirty. If anything, it might turn more people on to Zero Dark Thirty. And so, after much soul searching, I was finally able to watch The Hurt Locker again. And guess what? It's a really great movie!

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