FILM : Severe Clear at the Angelika

FILM : Severe Clear at the Angelika
by Susan

Did anyone else notice the spate of editorials written by veterans about The Hurt Locker in the run-up to the Oscars? None of these veterans were particularly positive in their reviews of it, mostly citing gross inaccuracies about the military that made a good story, perhaps, but totally misrepresented the real experience of combat. I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker, nor have I experienced combat, so I’m not really in a position to comment on the dilemma of how Hollywood raises our cultural consciousness about war, but falsely so. I have seen Severe Clear, however, which is a film made from a lot of raw camcorder footage Marine Lt. Mike Scotti took during his deployment early on in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and I can tell you that it is an accurate representation, at the very least, of confusion, chaos and lack of clarity in the art of story-telling. This film is less a narrative about a personal war experience from which you can extrapolate universal truth as much as it is Scotti’s personal point of view about why he’s in Iraq, which, it should be noted, he himself isn’t always clear about. There are frustrating interruptions in the filming – understandably enough, I guess, when Scotti and his cohorts are getting shelled and taking cover. For all the smart editing choices made by director Kristian Fraga, I came away from the film feeling more confused about this war than ever. But this is also why I liked it. It wasn’t artful, it was actual. It opens this Friday, Mar 12 at the Angelika and runs for a week. While I’m pretty certain Severe Clear will not win any Oscars, I’m also betting it will matter a lot more to the people who have lived Scotti’s fragmented, disjointed and very un-Hollywood story themselves, and that is perhaps precisely what makes it a worthwhile film for civilians to see.

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2 Comments

  1. William Geiman
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I recently saw the Hurt Locker. I have a lot of friends who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, mainly in the Special Forces. One of them named his gym after the movie (the name of his gym is the HIRT Locker). None of them liked the movie however. The main character was portrayed as a cowboy. According to my friends, those guys die or get washed out very quickly.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Bill, you and your friends should see Severe Clear and let me know what you/they think. Hope you’re well. It’s been a long time! S.

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