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Oscar winner is 'just nonsense' - Suffolk war reporter says

PUBLISHED: 08:54 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:39 06 July 2010

IT may currently be the toast of Tinseltown having picked up six Oscars - but The Hurt Locker has come in for stinging criticism from a Suffolk-based war correspondent.

IT may currently be the toast of Tinseltown having picked up six Oscars - but The Hurt Locker has come in for stinging criticism from a Suffolk-based war correspondent.

Sam Kiley, who lives near Snape, has first hand experience of life on the front line having covered 30 conflicts in more than 20 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

And he has serious reservations about the authenticity of The Hurt Locker, which landed awards for both best picture and best director at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

The film - directed by Kathryn Bigelow - tells the story of a bomb disposal team in Baghdad.

Mr Kiley, who has written for The Times and appeared on Channel 4 news, said there were TV series such as Generation Kill or Over There that were theatrically more compelling and closer to reality about life in Iraq.

Commenting on The Hurt Locker, he said: “It's an all-around disappointment - an absurd view of bomb disposal people, which manages to miss on every level - dramatically and as a reflection of any kind of reality.

“I am amazed that it's won an Oscar. It's just wrong and babyish on about 50 levels.”

Mr Kiley's recent book, Desperate Glory, was named as The Economist book of the year for 2009 and recounts his experiences of life on the front line in Afghanistan. He was particularly critical of a storyline in The Hurt Locker which sees British SAS rescued by members of the bomb disposal team.

He said: “The idea of panicky British special service personnel relying on bomb disposal engineers to defend them against snipers is just daft. Even allowing for artistic licence.

“I'm not saying that out of any nationalistic ideal of 'how dare you say our special forces are incompetent'.

“The whole film is just nonsense. There are much better films and TV series that are far more authentic.”

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