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The Rewards of Authenticity

March 8, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow didn’t compromise. She and her team made the movie they wanted to make. All guts and glory ‘The Hurt Locker’ delivered gritty realism and reaped six Oscars.  While ‘Avatar’s’ 3-D world left me motion sick and longing to be seven feet tall, skinny and able to stop global environmental destruction, the Hurt Locker won because it was raw. We buy pretend (Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time) but we reward authentic.

When Staff Sgt Williams James, played by Jeremy Renner, pulls a string and raises five bombs from the sandy street, encircling him like a pinwheel, he simply says ‘oh boy.’ Surrounded,  he becomes a metaphor of our time. In the battle he finds himself and in the grocery store of a million choices that don’t matter, he is lost.

We are surrounded by bombs just under the surface. The environment, war, billions of people who live on less than a dollar a day, mounting deficits, profound human rights violations and overly optimistic politicians. While Paris Hilton’s pooch sleeps on a more comfortable bed than Haitians could hope for, Chile quakes and finds itself hoping the world isn’t suffering from compassion fatigue.  Films like The Hurt Locker, The Cove, Precious and even Avatar in its own way, challenge us to face what’s real and deal. Bravo, bravo, now let’s be brave.

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