To add insult to injury the academy has added it's blessings and voted this picture, best picture. The academy's decision is a bit easier to explain once you take the academy as a body that is more interested in making statements rather than one that actually rewards merit. The statement here is that it was high time a woman won the coveted best director award (Streisand more or less said so). Not much beef from anyone there but just giving her the award would have exposed it for the token sham award it was, so her average run of the mill, been there, been done a million times before and much better,see Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (Not even nominated for best picture, in it's time), had to be given the most prestigious award in the whole of cinema, in order to give the best director nod more weight. Indeed the only award that mattered until now. In the words of Jay-Z, we are not fooled, they need many more people. The academy was already on shaky ground to begin with by giving Scorsese's The Departed best picture as a reward for past glorious achievements and oversights - The critically acclaimed Raging Bull and the truly masterful Taxi Driver and Goodfellas. Next was the award going to another average run of the mill affair called Slumdog Millionaire, which had the cinematography and look lifted straight out of City of God, a film which truly deserved best picture status, the year the award went to mediocre Chicago. I won't be taking any of these cinematic awards seriously anymore but in their own interests this sort of gestures are much more meaningful when they are merited and thus cannot be viewed as some sort of affirmative action. When they do decide to reward the first black director, I hope they choose a work that stands to very close scrutiny like Spike Lee's Malcolm X that should have won that honour in 1992.
As for the film itself, my sentiments are already expressed above. The only thing that would make it special are not anything on screen but the fact that it's an explosive filled war flick directed by a female director. I gather there are so few of these around that the first one that comes along has to be given crowning glory. People talk of suspense.What suspense? You have the lead character dragging about 20 bombs on the ground and he emerges out of that situation virtually unscathed! Not only that he has time to find and cut the right wires while the shadowy figures who planted the bombs patiently wait for him to finish his job. If you are looking for suspense after that, I suggest watching more movies. No, this is John Rambo or that chick from Kill Bill. Basically a bullet proof character, who is wholly unlikable and continually puts the lives of everyone around him in danger and is extremely arrogant to boot. The only reason he is alive at the end, is because, well, it's a movie and a poor one at that. Talking of reality then becomes academic unless we are talking of reality in a superman/seinfeld-like Bizarro world. In the world where I live in, this is just another pop-corn flick that should not be taken too seriously. It neither transports any amazing insights into the human condition nor describes any sequence of events that can be related to reality. It has no interesting protagonists but cardboard like figures whose archetypes have been long been established in Hollywood and the narrative is neither imaginative nor innovative. Only because every one and their mother is so willing, so eager to dish it with awards is it even gaining attention. Otherwise it would have sunk in the long list of utterly forgettable, inane films, perhaps popular with a certain group, where it invariably belongs.