Saturday, August 1, 2009

War is Absurd

We saw The Hurt Locker the other night. The movie follows a bomb tech team charged with disarming “unexploded ordinance” like roadside bombs and other traps in Iraq during the U.S. occupation. The movie was very well done.

We also have to say that if anything brings one closer to the absurd realities of life, it seems war would do it. The characters are constantly reminded of their mortality and the seeming futility of their struggle.

In the movie, as in most war movies, the characters take up different roles.

There is the soldier who can’t stop worrying about his own death. He is obsessed with it and is afraid. There is the soldier who buries his emotions in his duty. He is the one who follows the rules, does his job and swallows down the emotions inside of him.

Then there is the main character of the movie, Sgt. James, who is the absurd hero of the film in our view. James is fearless. He is referred to, more than once, as a wild man. He seems to even enjoy what he does, seems to get a thrill from it. Sgt. James is nearly always loose and calm. He is the absurd man, facing down death.

As we mentioned, the team has to diffuse bombs. They face their own death every time out. Sometimes the bombs go off and techs are killed. And every tech knows this every time they go out on a mission. The pressure and intensity they face is incredible. The strain of daily life is almost unbearable.

We won’t give away the ending, but we recommend the movie. It will give you some food for thought, something to chew on while you enjoy your creature comforts here way away from the hell hole of war.

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