Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Hurt Locker ****

Oh my goodness... A female director (Katheryn Bigelow) wins the BAFTA for best film over James Cameron with Avatar?! Well, she definitely deserved it with this. The Hurt Locker is probably the best war film I've seen in a very long time.

For those who don't know what it's about, it's based in Iraq and mainly focuses on the intense battle soldiers have to face when dismantling bombs left to kill hundreds. To say this film is powerful would be a huge understatement. It's so real that you real begin to visualise what life must actually be like for those who work in the army.

The film looks like its been placed bang in the centre of all the devastation currently taking place in Iraq. The shots of locals looking from their windows, the costumes on with civilians and soldiers, the weaponry... A lot of emphasis around detail has been given. The fact that Bigelow has chosen to place the movie on emotions of people as well really homes in on the reality again.

The film is led by 3 main characters - SSG William James (Jeremy Renner) who dismantles the bombs, Sgt. JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) who leads the group and Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) who is the almost look out of the group. Their relationship progresses throughout the movie, and when the scenes of action take place, they couldn't of kept you on the edge of your seat more without you falling off. They're all completely unique in their own way. William being quite cocky and confident, Sanborn remaining professional and dedicated to the job, and Eldridge who plays the less confident, rooky personality. But the 3 working together seem to have this chemistry which carries on through the film to the very end.

Katheryn Bigelow is obviously interested in these serious conflict films as she has previously directed K9: The Window Maker. But don't be put off by the idea of a female director filming what is predominantly a man's match made in heaven. The exploding of bombs, the fights and the story in between are meshed so well together. There's not a moment where you want more fighting or more dialogue; The balance is perfect. It's just a shame the ending was so disappointing. You're almost left wanting more from the film, but you gain enough satisfaction previously for you not to be too bothered.

What was really interesting was the way in which she chose to film the explosions. The first given to you was completely compelling. She used slow motion, focused on smaller details and then realised the huge impact it had. This idea of minor detail carried on throughout and really gave a great artistic feel to this very mainstream type story.

So, yes you should see this. Just make the most of the bulk of the story as the ending's a little disappointing. Plus, if you're a feminist you really should support it and witness women working at their best! Also, notice how many Pepsi logos you can spot. They sponsored this film, clearly.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Book of Eli ***

For any fan of Denzel, you're probably going to the enjoy this film! And if you're an action fan it's right up your street. But this isn't anything too groundbreaking.

It's based around a post-apocalyptic world with limited resources, fighting and some pretty weird characters. The film focuses on Denzel Washington finding his path through this situation which another force has given him. But along the way he has some pretty intense battles involving a very sharp blade, and some brilliant reflexes.

In terms of the actual action in the film, it remains quite constant and you never really have anytime to get bored. Plus the story to the film is very subtly revealing with a great twist towards the end. Keep an eye out on certain things Denzel notices if you want to try and figure it out before the big reveal! It's a very religious driven film also, which brings all sorts of ambiguity to movie.

The cinematography is relatively interesting. It's verging on the 300 theme of lighting and editing, but remains just enough mainstream for audiences not to get too freaked out by the diversity. It can be a little gritty at times, as you can imagine considering this film is focused around people doing anything and everything to gain certain things like water and food to survive.

There are some recognisable faces in the film - One being Denzel of course, who plays an ever mean yet lovable character once more. That guy just oozes cool. It also has Gary Oldman who plays the inevitable bad character of the film. He's actually very, very good in this film, and pulls off this chief like persona really well. And Mila Kunis playing an almost team mate figure adds a little divergence to this testosterone filled movie.

The problem with this movie is that it doesn't really offer anything new. Don't get me wrong, I personally enjoyed it because it's a little escape into a world that cinema can create. It's just very conventional yet quite entertaining. So if you want to see lots of fights and gore, be there!