Scenes that were originally immensely intense and built to a great payoff come off as almost boring and clichéd once you’ve sat through them. The one particular scene where this thankfully does not happen is the desert sniper standoff. For 19 minutes, we are stuck in the desert with a troop of soldiers under fire with nowhere to go, diminishing ammo, and a scorching sun pitting them all in the depths of hell. This is one standout scene and should be applauded. It could even be cut out of the film altogether and played as a short film and possibly go on to win any number of awards. It brings to mind the opening scene of another far better film, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
In the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds the audience is nearly driven mad with the interrogation of a Jew-hiding milk farmer by Golden Globe winner Christoph Waltz as the fiendishly ingenious Col. Hans Landa. This scene as well could be shown in its entirety, completely out of context, and work beyond measure. While most will undoubtedly run me over the coals in defense of The Hurt Locker they need to remember that my complaints are with annoying side characters (Sanborn and Eldridge) who never seem to shut up and a movie that upon repeat viewing just drags on forever with no extra nuance or depth. It’s a one-watch flick if you want it to achieve its full potential, and when it comes time for the coveted prize to be handed over, unfortunately history will repeat itself and it will not go to The Hurt Locker.
Photo courtesy Summit Entertainment