The Hurt Locker (2009)
If anything in 2009 was proof of film being reliant on a fully aware auter it was The Hurt Locker. Bigalow brings together excellent cinematography, the power of sound and getting the best out of actors in a way that fully deserved the Oscar for best film.
The plot centres around a bomb disposal team in Iraq with only a few weeks of their tour left. This is reasonably well done and did not attempt a morality play and we see that the people on the front line have different objectives and priorities than those who send them there. The only point at which it becomes unbelievable is the Jordanian accented Arabs and the guy who says “goodbye” rather than “hello” to the soldiers. The plot with the doctor also seemed to be a bit skimmed down; it felt like his character was just a set up. The characters were relatively (to most war films) three dimensional and psychological issues were dealt with sensitively.
The sound is great and heightens the tension, the gunfire sounds are remarkably realistic for a modern film and silence is used in a dramatic way to create realism. The result from this and the great camerawork is that the thing you remember from the action sequences is the tension rather than gore – this is a more permanent effect than in any slasher horror movie or most other war films where pointless splatter seems to take over from the realist suspense.
All in all this is a great film that deserved the Oscar, once it had been nominated. It is far, far better than Avatar