Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I have been a fan of Kathryn Bigelow since I first saw her 1987 horror flick "Near Dark" in those heady VHS days. Here was a movie that was exciting, visual, unpredictable, and funny. Hell, its best set piece even features The Cramps simmering through "Fever" on the jukebox while spurs slice though jugular veins. Sharing three key players from future husband (and future ex-husband) James Cameron's "Aliens" (Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein), the only disappointment about "Near Dark" is its resolution that feels like studio interference.

A friend of mine felt, at the time, that "Near Dark" was about accepting yourself for what you are. A fair enough interpretation, but one that's belied by that damned resolution. It wasn't until Bigelow went on to release more films that more obvious themes reveled themselves in her work. Though it's somewhat unfair to compare an original filmmaker like Bigelow with those who have come before her, the classics of both Howard Hawks and Sam Fuller surface in a very positive way.

My DVD collection is peppered with Bigelow's flicks.. "Near Dark", "Blue Steel", "Point Break", "Strange Days"... and I'm fond of each of these movies in their own way. It's after reflecting on these films as a whole that I began to see that Bigelow seems to share Hawks' interest in the way small groups of (usually) men function both among themselves and as a whole against a common enemy; with Fuller, it's his choreographed and striking violence as well as his compassion for his characters. All of this seems to culminate in this year's Best Picture winner, "The Hurt Locker", a terrific film that is now obviously going to find the audience it deserves --- I love its take on the addiction to the thrill of war. It's a theme both Hawks and Fuller would have loved to tackle, and I'm sure "The Hurt Locker" is a film either of them would have been proud to have made.

Kathryn Bigelow Filmography
The Miraculous Year (2011) (TV) (pre-production)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Mission Zero (2007)
Karen Sisco" (1 episode, 2004)
- He Was a Friend of Mine (2004) TV episode
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
The Weight of Water (2000)
"Homicide: Life on the Street" (3 episodes, 1998-1999)
Strange Days (1995)
"Wild Palms" (1993) TV mini-series (unknown episodes)
Point Break (1991)
Blue Steel (1989)
New Order: Substance (1989) (V) (video "Touched By The Hand Of God")
Near Dark (1987)
The Loveless (1982)
The Set-Up (1978)

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