I know that I have a habit of writing “I had the pleasure of interviewing…” in my introductions, but most of the time that is generally true, and never has it been more true than when I got the chance to interview Kathryn Bigelow at SIFF last year, when she brought The Hurt Locker to Seattle. I didn’t have nearly enough time, but the time I had was great. And yes, as so many interviewers and commentators feel compelled to remind us, she is beautiful. More importantly, however, she is engaging, introspective, compelling. It felt we had just gotten started when my time was up, before I had a chance to reach back to the dynamic, passionate, cinematically thrilling films that marked her as one of the great directors of her time: Strange Days, Point Break and especially Near Dark, the film that grabbed me by the throat when I caught it on its last night of an abbreviated run at a second run house (it had skipped the first run theaters altogether).
My interview is now running on Parallax View as part of the site’s spotlight on Kathryn Bigelow.
You start the film off with a quote by Chris Hedges: “War is a drug.” There’s a real simplified reading of that comment, which is that likes the challenge and he thrives on the thrill. But I think it’s more complex than that. He’s the best at what he does and he’s at his best under pressure. He’s in charge and, for all the danger, he’s as in control as he ever is. When he gets back, he’s lost.
That’s beautifully put. I couldn’t improve on that. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book that Chris Hedges has written, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” it’s a great book and required reading. He talks about that you’re looking today at a volunteer military and one of the many things he confronts is, war’s dirty little secret is some men love it. This isn’t everybody, it’s just a particular type of psychological state with some men, there’s a psychological allure that combat creates, some kind of attractiveness, and it does create an almost addictive quality that they can’t replicate in any other way and are lost in any other context.