December 27, 2009

Director of The Year: Kathryn Bigelow

While I did pick Inglourious Basterds as my favorite film I don't think Tarantino was the best director of the year. That honor goes to Kathryn Bigelow for the amazing Hurt Locker. Now I know you might be thinking I'm doing this because she's a woman directing an action film. It's not the case, I've been following her work since I first saw Point Break and I equally enjoyed her film Strange Days which was written by James Cameron. I was shocked that she hasn't made more action films over the years. When I first saw Hurt Locker back in 2008 I thought this was an excellent film. So when other films didn't match it's quality story telling I knew it was going to do well with critics and could end up in the Oscar race.

The reason she earns my vote for best director is her re-working of the war genre. With Hurt Locker we don't get a comedy like Three Kings or preachy comment on modern wars like Jarhead. What we ended up with was an honest look at the dangerous occupation soldiers sign up for. It didn't choose sides it didn't have a political message it just told a character driven story. I'm very thankful for Hurt Locker because it will hopefully bring back the war epic to grounded roots. I feel other character driven war films like Brothers and The Messenger benefited from Locker's critical success.

I wouldn't be surprised if Kathryn won Best Director or the film wins Best Picture at the Oscars this year. While Inglourious Basterds was the crowd pleaser Hurt Locker could actually improve the genre. Tarantino didn't reinvent the WWII action genre he just revived it. Many people like myself were tried of overuse of political commentary in war films. Bigelow was able to bring everything thrilling and dangerous about war on the screen. I didn't a have moment when I didn't think these characters weren't real people.

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