March 01, 2010

hurt locker <> documentary

Michael Kamber takes The Hurt Locker to task in the New York Times’ Lens blog for not accurately depicting the war, or the jobs and lives of the soldiers in it. Not surprisingly, the movie dramatically oversimplifies the war, and the characters do things that would be completely out of character for soldiers on the ground.

As usual, though, the best bits are in the comments. Here’s one from “Peter.”

While I do not dispute the glaring inaccuracies, I think the author missed the point of the movie. Had Gunner Palace treated the facts of war so loosely I would agree wholeheartedly, but Hurt Locker was not a documentary. I commend Katherine Bigelow on her portrayal of the psychological motivation of soldiers. I’d trade the entire movie for the scene where the SSG, just back from the box, is in a commissary shopping for cereal, trying to choose one box out of a hundred, a choice so beneath his decision-making capability it ends up numbing. When life is reduced to the mission and life and death, how can one transition back to the inane points of consumerism? I enlisted in 2006, but I’ve found many soldiers who view the war in a moral vacuum. To them, its something they need to do, not for politics or God or country, but for themselves. They find meaning in the fight, not because it’s right but because it’s a fight when so much in the world is surrender.

Emphasis mine.