Whether it’s a band of California surfers robbing banks or a bomb technician defusing IEDs on dangerous Iraqi streets, Kathryn Bigelow delivers the most testosterone driven films that are our there. Forget Michael Bays over CGI’ed monstrosities such as transformers or Armageddon. Audiences love realistic danger, we believe it actually exists when photographed. As Hollywood tries to squeeze out women from top creative positions in films, Kathryn Bigelow provides a glimmer of hope for young aspiring female film directors. She in a sense has destroyed the paradigm belief that women only make emotional dramas in film. These tendencies to add thrilling suspense and action to films might have been greatly influenced by her former husband James Cameron. In the 1980’s to early 90’s James Cameron dominated film screens with high intensity action films such as Terminator and Terminator 2. He also directed the film aliens which displayed Sigourney Weaver as a female version of Rambo. Many people believe that these high octane films lead to Kathryn Bigalows development as a filmmaker that specializes in suspense and action.
One film that I believe truly characterizes Kathryn Bigelow’s high action within film is the movie Point Break. The film is about a young FBI agent named Johnny Utah who searches for a band of California surfers that rob banks in the LA area. Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves; learns the art of surfing to infiltrate the surfer scene in southern California. He eventually bonds and becomes friends with a surfer group lead by Patrick Swayze’s character Brody. After special agent Utah discovers that his friends are the bank robbers known as the ex-presidents, they force him into situations he would otherwise not part take in.
Another Kathryn Bigelow film that demonstrates edge-of-your seat suspense and action is the film K-19: Widowmaker. The film is based on a true story about a Russian Nuclear sub that travels far into the Atlantic to fire a test missile towards the United States. The nuclear reactor on the ship malfunctions and creates a dangerous situation in which the nuclear sub can explode and destroy the nearby United States vessel. Engine mechanics then decide to enter into the radiated area to repair key components of the engine. The crew though is not equipped with the necessary protective radiation suits and subsequently deals with their fears of contracting radiation poisoning. The film perfectly illustrates brave engine technicians that ultimately put their lives on the line to prevent nuclear war.
The film that I believe perfectly sums up Kathryn Bigelow’s filmmaking style is the movie The Hurtlocker. The film details the reckless and dangerous situations throughout the war in Iraq. The movie follows an elite bomb unit as it searches for and diffuses numerous IED’s throughout the city. The film also presents suspenseful moments between U.S. military personnel and the indigenous civilians of that area. Several of the sequences throughout the film force the viewers to the edge of their seats as they witness a realistic dangerous display of the war in Iraq.