Tag Archives: David Simon

Films – The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker movie posterDespite appearances, “The Hurt Locker” is Kathryn Bigelow‘s return to familiar ground – the subject of addiction to adrenaline.

What differentiates this film from “Point Break“, however, is that where that film is a big, daft action movie, made for ease of use rather than use of brain, this one is a much more solemn and intense affair. Set in Iraq, the film follows a squad of bomb disposal experts, as they do their best to keep the streets, if not exactly danger free, at least free of planted explosives.

The film opens as tragedy hits the team, and are joined by a new team leader – Sergeant First Class William James, played by Jeremy Renner, who brings a sardonic edge to the over-confident and super-competent bomb disposal expert.

We’re trained by movies to expect certain things at this point – conflict between him and his new team as his maverick attitude puts them in danger, high-octane action set-pieces, bonding moments, and ultimately resolution as he proves himself to team-mates and audience alike.

Bigelow’s movie totally subverts everything we expect from it, almost wilfully daring the viewer to bitch about their thwarted expectations. Which is kind of mean when you consider how much her earlier work has done to create the expected modes in the first place!

What we get instead is a naturalistic, political or social agenda-free movie that follows its characters around as they do their jobs, in admittedly emotionally heightened conditions, rather than have them explain their actions.

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SD/Books – Generation Kill, Other People & Bad Things

More and more, the SD header becomes a misnomer… these clearly aren’t books I’ve read in the last seven days – seven weeks wouldn’t even cover it – but they are books worth praising.

Generation Kill by Evan Wright

generation-killThe last non-fiction book I had read before this was David Simon’s “Homicide – A Year On The Killing Streets”, and prior to that, you have to go a few years before you get Michael J Fox’s biography “Lucky Man” – yes, yes, I have incredible taste.

The truth is, I wouldn’t have even heard of Evan Wright or “Generation Kill” if it hadn’t been for Simon’s own TV adaptation of this exceptional book.

Wright’s beautifully nuanced piece of war reporting describes the invasion of Iraq through the eyes of First Recon, who were among the first US soldiers to make their way across the confused social and physical geography of the country to take Baghdad in the early weeks of the war. Wright was an embedded reporter for Rolling Stone with the First Recon, and through a rigid journalistic approach to his experiences, he paints a picture of highly competent young men placed in the most extreme of circumstances, at the mercy of the sort of bureaucracy and leadership uncertainty that most of us face in our own much less life-or-death careers.

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