The Hurt Locker


Malibu Palms earned a good review from Nicolas Chartier, one of four producers of The Hurt Locker (holding the coffee cup in the picture), when he bought my novel at Amazon.

I've known Nick since he was twenty-three (my wife says nineteen) when he first came to American from France to write screenplays and had dinner with us. Other dinners followed, one at his house during which I gouged a scar into his newly refinished floor that cost him $1,200 to repair. I am not reciprocating here either for friendship or for Nick's review of my book. I am simply stating my reaction to a finely wrought movie.

The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal and directed by Katheryn Bigelow, is one of the greatest war films I've ever seen, more about suspense and character than blood and gore. My wife who hates war movies was absolutely riveted the whole time as it peeled back the lives of a bomb squad.

There was a foreshadowing of the subject matter in
Danger UXB, a 1979 British miniseries about the nerve racked lives of bomb disposal experts during the Blitz. Ten or more years earlier there was a black and white movie, The War Lover, in which Steve McQueen played a sociopathic B-17 pilot. But to say The Hurt Locker is like anything that preceded is like saying Tombstone is just another Western. The central character of The Hurt Locker loves the adrenalin high of his job, but he's no sicko and remains a very human hero in the business of saving lives. I've known a couple of combat veterans and at least one firemen who thrived on danger like a drug. They are unusual men. We need them. And one is much safer acting as back up as they so blithely lead the charge.

The Hurt Locker brings an uncompromising perspective to the Iraqi war that isn't the usual shrill anti-American crap Hollywood has cranked out in the past. It's up for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Nick's mom is flying in from France to be with him in the audience. A lot of times nominees are in the bar with stand-ins dressed in tuxedos filling the seats until they stagger back. But Nick doesn't drink, so he'll be there cold stone sober until the winner is announced.

He deserves the Oscar. I pray he gets it. But regardless of that outcome, people reading this who haven't seen the movie would be doing themselves a favor to rent the DVD or download it or take it in at a theater. You won't regret it.