In a montage at the beginning of the film, Professor of linguistics Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is seen caring for her young daughter who sadly doesn’t make it to adulthood because of cancer. We return to the present day and Louise is lecturing some of her students when they realise that strange monolithic alien shapes are appearing in places around the globe, hovering silently just a few metres above the ground. Louise is asked (by US Army Colbert GT Weber) to join physicist Ian Donnely in trying to help the military figure out who and what they are and what is going on.
I enjoyed the process of Louise trying to establish communication, and the patience required and displayed by the protagonists. It also displayed the difficulty with worldwide cooperation well, full of tension and twitchyness with positions and methods shifting greatly due to small changes here and there.
However I was very disappointed by the ending which seemed to reduce the entire story down to one person and their love life. Grand ideas about the furtherment of mankind and cooperation on an international scale and more were reduced to one person’s skills and choices. I unfortunately completely lost my suspension of disbelief at this point!
2 on 5
Director: Denis Villenueve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O’Brien, Tzi Ma
UK Release: 10th October 2016
Set in Iraq in a post-invasion time The Hurt Locker follows a group of American Soldiers who spend most of their time trying to locate and dissuse bombs or IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). It seems also to be another film with a terrible title, but then maybe you’ve got to be down with the military lingo to get it.
It starts with a quote: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug” which sets the tone for the whole film. It’s about the psychological affects on the individuals in the situation and as characters come and go for various reasons the focus shifts to Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) who is the most gung-ho and ballsy in terms of actions (but in a calm and collected manner) of all the soldiers. He also displays all the symptoms of an addict – ignoring the people around him and seeking out greater hits.
The film sucks you into the warzone and ratchets up the tension and for the most part I was completely there. One scene in particular where the Americans come across a British team of soldiers and are attacked from afar out in the desert is fantastic and very Western-esque with long drawn out shots and an almost unseen enemy. It’s an ideal film for a Cinema setting, with a big screen and dark surroundings adding to the atmosphere.
The only parts where I drew back were the needlessly macho ‘Hell yeah!’ chest-thumping ‘U-S-A’ scenes of the soldiers bonding between the battles which for me were a bit too much, but then it is film about Americans by an American director, but also a female director (Kathryn Bigelow) so perhaps you wouldn’t have expected all the macho stuff.
4 on 5
Director – Kathryn Bigelow
Starring – Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes
UK Release – 28 August 2009