Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Reality in Fiction
The Hurt Locker won the Oscar for best picture, so I decided I ought to see it. Went out and rented the DVD and I'm glad I only rented it (for free, thank you Red Box promo code)
The problem was the absolute lack of reality in a film that so desperately wanted to be taken serious. IF this was a standard action movie I could forgive the stunts, the macho "I'm gonna do it my way" B.S., but this was a serious film, that thought it had a message.
Let's not quibble over I knew who was going to die in the first 60 seconds, or the protagonists relationship with the boy selling DVD's or any number of things I knew were going to happen due to stereotypical writing. My problem is the lack of respect for reality in fiction, when it is what you are claiming you do.
Nearly every character broke protocol in nearly every single situation in the film. It would be reality if somebody did once in a while-but every single character all the time? I sincerely hope people don't watch this film and think-that's how it is-because our service men are not that stupid.
Case in point. The three lead characters are out detonating ordinance and coming back to base come upon a number of men dressed as Iraqi fighters. Typical yelling and threats (They leave the safety of their vehicle to approach a numerically superior foe!?!) Then in a classic Dan Brown tell-oh guess what its a Brit, played by RaLph Fiennes, (yes pronounce the L please) Gee why didn't he just say he was on their side in the first place? because he had to do the weak, false tension stunt that DB always does=poor writing no matter how many books he sells.
Then they are hit by Sniper fire. RaLph dies, his Barret 50 cal sniper rifle is resting where it was when the sniper zeroed in and killed him. What do our heroes do but take the SAME position and attempt to return fire. The Idiots didn't move!?! The greenest troops ever would know to change positions, but these guys stay in the same place. Then when they have problems with their ammo they still stay silhouetted on the top of the hill-while another guy cleans the ammo.
By now the sniper should have killed them 10 times over-but he doesn't. And of course when they are ready, they kill him-ridiculous. I lost all sense of reality and could not take the Hurt Locker seriously. This is not a film that is going to stand the ages like so many other Oscar winning films in the past.
In contrast, Inglorious Basterds, was not supposed to be taken as reality, it was
obvious to anyone that it was exaggerated historical fiction. While entertaining, messages subtle as brass knuckles were seeded within that gave a greater depth to what could at first glance be viewed simply as a horrific and violent war movie. Such as, the irony of branding people, laughing at what we ought not-specifically when the crowd around you does. And in a Tarantino film, people die when they are supposed too.
Revenge as in any Tarantino project is always a prime motivation but so is vengeance which is not quite the same thing. The human drama involved lent an aspect of reality that Hurt Locker sorely lacked.
So all in all, the blatantly fictitious piece struck me as more real.