With the Oscars right around the corner and The Hurt Locker finally getting the attention is deserves, someone has to complain about it. The film has already received praise from critics and the military personal alike. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has commented on the film and called it both “authentic” and “very compelling.” Purple Heart winner, Drew Sloan, recently sat with the cast and crew on a panel to speak about the film.
Suddenly it’s being said that the film-makers may have gone a little too far…
…the government says it pulled its “Hurt Locker” production assistance at the last minute in 2007, saying that the film’s makers were shooting scenes that weren’t in the screenplay submitted to the Defense Department, including a sequence that the government believed portrayed troops unflatteringly. The film’s producers dispute elements of the account.
The problem isn’t in the facts, but in the personality of the main character, Staff Sgt. William James played by Jeremy Renner who comes off like a Mad Max renegade. Many times over the character puts his and others life on the line for an adrenaline rush. Real life EOD team leader, taff Sgt. Jeremy D. Phillips has come forward stating that his job is not nearly as dramatic as what the movie makes it out to be…
“My interest is bringing myself and my team members home alive, with all of our appendages in the right place.” Although he was glad the film highlighted their trade, he disliked the celluloid treatment of EOD units. “There is too much John Wayne and cowboy stuff.”
All I can say is, welcome to Hollywood! Kathryn Bigelow‘s film does a great job of bringing the truth to the big screen, but it is still a movie and they did use a fictional character to make it work. Writer/Producer Mark Boal reminds us that the film was not intended to be a documentary or a training film…
“We certainly made creative choices for dramatic effect,” he said. “But I hope the choices were made respectfully and conscientiously.”
More to the point, just because this one EOD team leader wasn’t like Renner’s character doesn’t mean anything. Many military personal have held the much talked about position, surely some of them are like him and many of them are not. To say that one person isn’t like another shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone.
Who thinks this is just propaganda for the film? Who thinks that the film has done a poor job at representing the real EOD team leaders?