David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dialogue (37) (2011)
Much of the critical praise for the film concerns the first of these aims. Bigelow’s use of at least four film crews for every scene affords the sense of being present in the situation, continuously shifting perspective, alert to possible danger. The relative anonymity of the scenery, clearly somewhere in the Middle East but not clearly anywhere in particular, fosters this uneasy sense of immersion in an unfamiliar scenario where the sources of danger are unpredictable. Protracted periods of silence, punctuated by incidental sounds that often turn out to be irrelevant, increase this tension. The occasional quiet ring of tinnitus imparts a sense of the incessant nature of the soldiers’ anxiety. Much of the negative criticism of the film, on the other hand, concerns the psychology of its central characters. Some veterans of the war in Iraq have claimed that it is a wildly inaccurate portrayal of the attitudes and behaviour of professional soldiers
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