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The hurt locker:cinematic addiction, ‘critique’ and the war on terror

Bennett, Bruce and Diken, Bulent (2011) The hurt locker:cinematic addiction, ‘critique’ and the war on terror. Cultural Politics, 7 (2). pp. 165-188.

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Abstract

The article approaches The Hurt Locker, an enthusiastically-received ‘critical’ film, as a symptom of today’s prevailing cultural and political codes. First we dwell on the homologies between the state of exception and the narrative logic of the film, including its reflection on the banalization of exception. This is followed by a parallel between the biopolitical optic of the film and today’s dominant ideology, which Badiou calls ‘democratic materialism’. We emphasize that, despite its critical credentials, The Hurt Locker is totally silent on the most crucial aspect of the war against terror, its de-politicizing effects. It is a depoliticized picture, in which the lack of antagonistic politics and subjectivities in today’s democratic materialist constellation is countered with the inherent excess of the system, the protagonist’s (self-)destructive passion for the Real. Following this discussion at the level of the narrative, we discuss the film in the context of what Deleuze conceptualized as ‘time-images’. Our point here is that with the The Hurt Locker we are within ‘the cinema of the seer’, within a nihilistic portrayal of nihilism from inside, on the basis of highly formalized time-images that do not become politicized. In other words, The Hurt Locker is trapped within what it describes.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Cultural Politics
Uncontrolled Keywords: The Hurt Locker ; cinema and politics ; time-image ; democratic materialism ; war on terror
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 54973
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 07 Jun 2012 16:51
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2012 16:33
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/54973

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