Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Hurt Locker (Continued)

I have received mixed comments on my review of "The Hurt Locker." This is absolutely wonderful. You win some and you lose some, right? However, some people clearly did not understand my point of view, and some comments were completely asinine.

1) Someone said I got William James’ rank wrong. Look again my friend. James wears an E7 rank on his uniform. If you’d like to look for yourself go to www.youtube.com, type in The Hurt Locker part 9, and at about 8:42 you see his rank. E7, not E6.

2) Holy shit! This isn’t a documentary? Well, forget it. Let’s just ignore all the inaccuracies and call it a day. For the record, I didn’t expect it to be completely accurate. BUT HOW HARD IS IT TO GET THE UNIFORM CORRECT? This is the primary article of clothing the soldiers wear in the goddamn movie! It might not be a big deal to civilians or soldiers who don’t care how the military is portrayed, but it annoyed me. Let’s put that aside. Want soldiers to wear the ACU’s? Fine. Bump the movie back to late 2005 when ACU’s were issued instead of 2004.

3) I realize this was a movie. Fiction. Not real. However, “The Hurt Locker” seems to be one of few recent war films (regarding the Iraq war) that people were truly curious about and paid money to go see. Furthermore, it received critical acclaim by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I would like to believe that storytellers (writers, producers, and directors) want to portray realistic accounts of war and those who fight. Yes, there are soldiers in the military who have personalities similar to James. Yes, war is an adrenaline rush. Yes, readjusting to the “normal world” is difficult. I admit these points; nonetheless I find this movie over the top and misleading. Now, before everyone freaks out again, I understand movies are typically over the top and that is often the whole point to them. Yet “The Hurt Locker” had a legitimate opportunity to put a real face on this war (a war that is particularly fresh in our minds and bound to linger on for years) and those serving in it. In my eyes, the filmmakers had a responsibility, yet one could chalk this film up to be one of those picture perfect advertisements the military puts out to attract people to join. Is it possible I am reading too much into this? Sure, from a civilian’s point of view I probably am. But, once you have served overseas you come to realize how much the Iraq war has been ignored by the mainstream media and the public. Additionally, you learn to identify the sensational aspects of film and media designed to grab viewers’ attention and make them curious about the war. “The Hurt Locker’ features many of these elements, and through them the filmmakers got the attention of a more than a few important people. So, the director and actors will attend an award show and maybe walk away with a statue, yet the real story of war and EOD soldiers is still out there.

Clear? We all have viewed or will view this movie completely differently. This is my opinion. Have a different one? Stop crying over mine, start a blog and post it.

(Thank you for all your comments, emails, and Facebook messages. I truly appreciate them! Yes, I'm on Twitter @GIKate)

9 Comments:

Blogger CI-Roller Dude said...

It's Holly-crap-wood. I love watching war and cop movies on DVD so I can slow them down and find mistakes. I can almost always find some kind of weapon, uniform or equipment mistake.

Generation Kill was pretty damn good. I'll have to wait for Hurt locker to come out on DVD...

In Cop movies/ TV, I laugh at how they screw up legal issues and procedures to make the plot work.

Did you know, when a cop actually arrest a person in the US, they don't have to give them their Miranda Rights. Only if we're going to question them---not just because we're putting on handcuffs.

Welcome to our world... Hollywood BS.

2/04/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is my opinion. Have a different one? Stop crying over mine, start a blog and post it. "

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

You're the one crying about it. I can't believe you would pan a film that makes people actually feel for what you are doing over there. because lets be honest, it's not the most noble of wars!

Stop crying and "WRITE A BLOG!!!!!!!"

I didn't know BLOGS are where it's at.

You are just so lame to me. Someone hanging on her one identity of being in the army. Okay "GI KATE" By the way, nice take on GI JANE! I wonder how accurate that film was. But I'm sure that doesnt matter because when it came out you didn't define yourself by the army and might have actually enjoyed the film regardless of how accurate it was.

I know a lot of my anger has more to do with just your lackluster post but I'm just tired of it. It's so insane for a soldier to take a film like this and try to bash it for things only soldiers would care about...and not many...probably only those that can not give up that questionable identity. Sure we support the troops, but lets get serious, your identity as a troop in connected to this horrible assault on humanity. So relax on all the pride and try some humility.

I apologize for the long comment, I promise I will never venture to your site again (and any other military themed site for that matter.)

2/04/2010 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Nixon said...

Anonymous,

Whoa, major anger issues. Go out and get yourself laid for pete's sakes.

CI-Roller Dude,

I liked Gen Kill too, just saw Hurt Locker last night and thought it was okay.

Kate,

Good article at HuffPo (even though I slightly disagree) that drew tons of comments. I'm glad you are getting some well-deserved recognition for being a writer who isn't afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom. Please keep up the good work.

-Paul

2/05/2010 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger GI Kate said...

CI - Generation Kill was good!

Paul - that person has total anger issues. Anyways, thank you for your comments. How's everything going? I hope you're doing well!

2/05/2010 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Kate,

You explained your position very well, and took the time to respond to what you accurately describe as asinine comments. Most would have failed on both counts. While I certainly agree that reality is mostly absent the entire movie, I did not enter the movie with hopes of seeing an accurate portrayal of OIF. I, too, laughed out loud several times during the movie. That laughter was, in large part, directed at the use of "artistic license" by the directors and producers of the film.

My first tour started in early 2005 and, as you've already said, ACUs were nowhere in sight. Sure, Army Times had some ramblings about the upcoming uniform change but they were not yet fielded to troops. It was not until late 2005 that I started seeing troops in the new uniform. I welcomed the sight, as it meant my flight home was drawing closer. Personally, I resisted buying the blends-in-with-absolutely-nothing-on-this-planet-while-stabbing-you-in-the-neck-with-a-most-useless-piece-of-velcro^Whook-and-pile uniform until it was absolutely required that I purchase them. Now that I've separated, they have absolutely no use to me. My old BDUs make great hunting clothes, though.

It was very clear, early on, that the movie was going to be mostly a glorification of poorly understood bits and pieces of combat. The lone three-man team running about like they were an miniature ODA team. The uniforms. The rolled up sleeves (yeah, because the sunburn you'll get - and the sandblasting from the wind - will definitely feel better than having them down.... ). The EOD tech turned sniper in a 7.62X54R vs .50 BMG stand-off (who on Earth came up with that one)! The utterly asinine thought that any NCOIC would instruct his three men to "split up" on a "we really shouldn't be doing this" man-hunt in the middle of what is clearly hostile territory.

Some of it was not so far off. The terrible DVDs. The presence of alcohol (though that was severely over-emphasized). The hard times faced at homecoming. The feelings many combat troops have when one of their brothers or sisters at arms is killed, and they think just maybe they could have stopped it - or it should have been them.

Despite all of that, it didn't offend me as an infantry veteran. Most of my friends put up their BS flags as well. While they found it entertaining, they asked questions about a lot of the inconsistencies - because they knew what I had worn when I deployed the first time, and the (few) stories I elected to share when I came back.

To assume the majority of Americans asked the same questions of the veterans they undoubtedly know would be foolish, so I won't do that. I do think most people understand it is fiction, and don't expect any Hollywood war film to truly capture what war is really like. Besides, would you watch such a film? It would be really long, really boring, and have randomly spaced and extremely brief moments of intensity rivaled by nothing else in this life. If a 3 hour movie was meant to portray a year of war, a 15 minute full-out engagement would take up 30 seconds of the movie. In the meantime, I'd imagine much of the theater would fall asleep. The same way many younger soldiers have to fight hard to avoid doing the same when on guard.

Regards,
Anthony Martinez

2/05/2010 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you were a photo-journalist, you did not fight. So you found a flaw in the uniforms in a fictional movie, wow.

Pick up a gun instead of a camera and we'll talk. Journalists always got in the way but could come home and act like vets... one of those injustices.

2/05/2010 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

@ Anonymous - I don't know Kate from Eve, but I do know for a fact the PAO troops with whom I served (3BDE 3ID, and yes I was an 11B) fought just as hard as my men anytime there was a TIC. Hell, one of the females was all of 5' and carried a SAW she was utterly surgical with. Yes, surgical with a SAW.

Be honest, how many patrols did you go on where you drove, or walked, around and did jack diddly squat the whole time? I'll bet you a shiny nickel that number is pretty close to the total number of patrols you went on the whole damn tour. Why? Because that's war. It's boring, and you do not get "in the shit" every single time you wake up.

2/06/2010 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger NUGHT said...

I was going to offer my opinion but anthony, you said everything i wanted to... I think the reason many vets have a problem with this movie is because it came so close to being great... They hit homeruns on alot of issues... but the failures were huge.... When this movie came out I was a patrol leader for EOD security in Baghdad... The EOD tech's heard about some of the things in this movie and refused to watch it...

Kate, I agree with your assement for the most part.... dont let the hecklers bring you down, or discredit your deployments... great blog, keep up the good work...

2/09/2010 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Great points you make Kate. The movie did a good job telling some of the emotional aspects of serving and catching some of the environment. However, the sniper scene went waaayyy to far. A) they never would have been that isolated B) Air would have resolved the situation in 45 minutes. C) Rent a frickin blackhawk simulate a medivac. Not my dads Huey!

4/19/2010 01:05:00 AM  

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