Hollow Action, 28 August 2009
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
I approached this film with great excitement and expectation but walked away deflated, and disappointed. Which is not to say that it is without merit. The action scenes are superb, the tension often on a hair trigger. But there is a curious lack of cohesion about it all which lets it down.
The set pieces are well crafted, what lies between is not. Jeremy Renner does well as hero defuser Sgt James. Perhaps too well. His egocentric character alienates those around him on screen, and the audience alike leaving little to warm to. A desert shoot out sequence involving English contractors is fine action, but appears to have been spliced in at random. A bomb disposal tale depends for its success upon the audience rooting for the heroes, and there is little to root for. The excessive use of non-static camera work I found irritating, and distracting, often the sign that a Director has chosen to jazz up the realism by making the perspective wobble a bit. It doesn’t, it is just tiresome.
It took America a long time to get to grips with Vietnam at the cinema, but this is no Deer Hunter / Platoon/ Apocalypse Now or Hamburger Hill. In moving away from banal self- justification for the war in Iraq, it is a step in the right direction, but no more.
Director Katherine Bigelow’s last feature, the excellent k-19 Widowmaker scored on narrative and characterisation, both big minuses here. This assessment swims in the face of popular sentiment on release I know. But this is how i see it.