Movie Analysis : The Hurt Locker

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War is a largely abstract concept to the average American. It is ubiquitous in news reports, political debates and our culture, but not tangibly understandable. Aside from the small pockets of the population that have experienced warfare, the jarringly focused and rigid representation of EOD team leader Sergeant First Class William James in Katherine Bigelow’s film The Hurt Locker (2008) provides insight to a world that much of the audience will never experience. Although The Hurt Locker would be regarded as a “realistic” film in form and content by modern standards, the resulting product would not belong totally to “realist cinema” as defined by French theorist and film ciritic Andre Bazin. Bigelow’s directive approach to the film opposes the core of his writings with the use close ups, obtrusive editing, and framing focus the viewer to specific objects and themes. It is through specific sequences of The Hurt Locker that the realist style emerges, creating a powerful, experiential moment for the audience to extract meaning. Through the use of deep focus and wide shots with minimal editing, all prominent in Bazin’s theories, specific scenes exemplify realist cinema in this modern war-epic. The major film theorists of the early 20th Century primarily focused on demonstrating film, a widely popular and novelty entertainment, as an art. These early theorists fell into two respective categories: the formative and the realists. The former focused on the formic elements like

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