Friday, March 12, 2010

The Real Hurt Locker

Foreign Policy has a wonderful photo essay: The Real Hurt Locker about the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams working in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think some of its criticisms of the film are unfair: "unlike the gung-ho Hurt Locker team that seems to find itself in a firefight wherever it goes, the real guys tend to focus on disposing of IEDs". The film is clear enough that it covers several weeks but chooses to relate only the stories from a few particular days, which I think are understood to be exceptional, not typical. Anyway, contra David Aaronovitch this IS Iraq. Via Rachel Maddow.

Update 12/3 11:20 am An alternative view:

The movie didn't show the massive destruction of Iraq caused by our invasion. It didn't show how, seven years later, some people still don't have dependable electricity, clean water or adequate sewage. It didn't show how many Iraqi citizens are still trying to find employment so they can feed their families after we destroyed their infrastructure.

6 Comments:

Blogger John B said...

"The movie didn't show the massive destruction of Iraq caused by our invasion. It didn't show how, seven years later, some people still don't have dependable electricity, clean water or adequate sewage."

Yes it fucking did. It showed all of these things, very clearly. Anyone who actually watched the movie, rather than writing a boilerplate Galloway-ish "ooh, Hollywood evilness" condemnathon would have noticed this, because it's *half the fucking point of the film*.

3/12/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Fair enough John, I added that because I thought it made the argument that, rather than showing Iraq as worse than it is, it showed it as better than it is. To be pedantic, the movie was set in 2004 IIRC, so it didn't set out to show the situation in 2010, and hence doesn't show it, but that's an unreasonable criticism. I don't agree that it's part of the point of the film, which I take to be much less hortative than you do. But, yes, it does show Iraqis struggling under the occupation: the scene with the car running the road block I thought was particularly good at illustrating the chaos the US had brought to ordinary Iraqi lives.

Anyway, I certainly think that there will be Iraqi made films about the post-war period (if there aren't already) which will show these things too. Whether David Aaronovitch will be any more persuaded by them remains to be seen. My money says he won't.

3/12/2010 05:59:00 PM  
OpenID yorksranter said...

Anyway, I certainly think that there will be Iraqi made films about the post-war period (if there aren't already) which will show these things too. Whether David Aaronovitch will be any more persuaded by them remains to be seen. My money says he won't.

s/b

Whether Daid Aaronovitch will be any more persuaded to see them remains to be seen. My money says he won't.

3/12/2010 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

To be fair, I was actually persuaded to see the film by, of all people, Norman Geras. But I don't think David A has seen it either, given his cursory mention. I completely agree with Norman Geras' assessment, BTW. Criticisms of the film which say that it makes bomb-disposal men seem like risk-addicted loons go too far. It's not a normal job; I imagine they are thrill-seeking guys who find normality boring. I'd be stunned if this wasn't the case. I know something about astronauts and test pilots and about BASE jumpers. They're not normal guys; they are somewhat difficult to work with, especially to manage or be managed by.

Also, I never get tired of this bad review.

3/12/2010 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

it makes bomb-disposal men seem like risk-addicted loons

Jesus, even about half of normal suburban firemen are risk-addicted loons (I only know one, and he isn't, but I know a bunch of paramedics, and my experience has been that paramedics passionately hate firemen.)

3/12/2010 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

Also, I never get tired of this bad review.

Everything about that is wonderful; right down to the "it's".

3/13/2010 06:25:00 PM  

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