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June 27, 2009


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Bigelow's been locked in movie jail for far too long, and for what? "K-19"? "The Weight of Water"? Neither are as good as this film is, but they're hardly the snoozefests they were thought to be at the time. "K-19" is an especially lo-fi, similarly procedural spin on the submarine thriller, almost "The International" to "The Hunt for Red October"s Bourne trilogy (does that even make any sense?). For that matter, silly subject matter aside, "Point Break" still holds up as a remarkably intense and exciting action movie.

Lord Henry

The punchline being that this is one of the few war movies to suggest that the home life of a soldier is often so monotonous, dull and contemptible that it may well be preferable to be part of an Army bomb disposal unit facing death on a daily basis. A good point well made.

Glenn Kenny

@matty: I've been meaning to for a while, but seeing "Locker" has moved a viewing of the Blu-ray of "Point Break" up on my schedule. I do hope that whatever success "Locker" enjoys will maybe spur a critical reassessment of Bigelow. To which maybe I'll contribute. I'm particularly eager to give the much-maligned "Strange Days" another look.


I had issues with the lack of a cohesive plot while watching this movie, but got over it by the time it was over. I agree that this is a damn good movie, mostly to Jeremy Renner's credit. I forget who made the point (I think it was in Film Comment), but he really does have an uncanny ability to act out the entire meaning of a scene with just facial expression(s). I hope to see more of him in the future now that ABC-TV terminated "The Unusuals".

And I've always thought Strange Days was extremely underrated, aside from the poor choice to set it in a 1999 not distant enough future.

Dan Coyle

I love Strange Days, myself, but I think I saw it at just the right age to love it.

Steven Santos

I felt "Hurt Locker" was the right script for Bigelow to show her talents as a director. Since seeing it yesterday, I find myself replaying sequences in my head, particularly how she built up tension in each bomb defusing through editing and shot selection.

I've always been a fan of "Point Break". While admittedly goofy, it has a true go-for-broke quality to its nuttiness that makes action movies today feel neutered. And I never understood why "Strange Days" is so maligned. It's certainly not perfect (the ending is a bit much), but there are some genuine ideas in the movie, plus two strong performances from Fiennes and Bassett.

Account Deleted

Point Break and Strange Days are wonderful films, and look like masterpieces compared to the shit we're given today.

The Hurt Locker is a real return-to-form for Bigelow, the audience I saw it with sat enthralled for two hours and then burst into applause as the credits rolled. Great final scene, with a thrilling match-cut.


Agree with Markj and everyone else on Point Break and Strange Days. Both good films -- and you don't even have to compare them to today's actioners. I don't consider myself very prescient and I liked both a lot even at the time they were released.

Account Deleted

@campaspe: Agreed, Point Break and Strange Days have both been wonderful from the word go. I read a piece recently analysing the names of the characters in Strange Days and their relevance to the theme of sight and seeing in the film. I hadn't even considered that the name of the character murdered in the POV rape scene is Iris.


@Dan Coyle

Yeah, you have a point. It's very much a teenage-boy kinda movie. Smarter than it looks, but not as smart as some might lead you to believe (admittedly, I do love that "Hey, is this a shatter-proof crystal?" line).

Hopefully Bigelow will be allowed in from the cold. I'm a bit pissed this film isn't showing in Boston at the moment. We've got four indie theaters...wtf?


Not to beat a dead horse, but I rewatched "Strange Days", which I found dated, inelegant, but still fierce and bold and kind of brilliant. And that's setting aside the obvious technical skill that it must have taken.

Dan Coyle

I wonder if Brigette Bako still gets recognized for Strange Days, and how that makes her feel. That's probably her best known role.

Oh, John Nolte, you freakin' child. I read his full review and he complains, oh he COMPLAINS about how the Iraqis are portrayed. Like you give a flying fuck about Iraqis, Johnny Boy. Like I don't somehow because I disagree with you.

S.F. Hunger

Point Break is a case of an extraordinarily stupid script being handed to a skilled director, and that director making something defiantly watchable out of it. One can't really defend the faux-serious surfer-philosophy pretensions, nor the forehead-slap-inducing performances of Keanu and Swayze. It's not even close to a great movie -- "Near Dark" is the great one, people. If you want to spend some time with Bigelow's filmography, start there. A beautiful film.


This is certainly a good movie, but I'd have a real hard time identifying the director without any advanced knowledge. Maybe Bigelow felt the need to show some reverence toward the script's journalistic origins by playing down her more extravagant aesthetic impulses. Nonetheless, I missed the woman who made Near Dark, Point Break, Strange Days, and (though I haven't seen it since childhood and probably have overrated it) the weirdest episodes of the Wild Palms miniseries. Good movie, but certain parts cried out for a surreal touch--i.e. the "boy bomb" and its aftermath. Still good; just not the Bigelow comeback I was hoping for.

Tony Dayoub

I dunno, S.F., POINT BREAK gets extra points for making me tolerate Keanu as an FBI agent. But seriously, it is a pretty solid action movie that is underrated because of its genre more than anything else. Yes, NEAR DARK is great also, but it's more of a tiny gem compared to the grand POINT BREAK.

The film seemed to fit in comfortably with the rest of her oeuvre, particularly in the way it explores a protagonist who is "living in the moment" like POINT BREAK's Bodhi, and in a more extreme and unhealthy way, Eugene in BLUE STEEL. I explain it in more detail in my own review of the film.


I was talking to a actual EOD technician that has been to Iraq numerous times and asked him what he thought of the movie. He said he watched about 1 hour of it and had to leave because of how absolutely unrealistic it is. He told me that if that had been his guy, he would have shot him because of how absolutely unsafe he is. Add to that, the majority of the EOD disarmments are done via robot.

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