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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Why did Bigelow use "Gears of War," not "Super Mario Brothers"?

From Nathan Donarum:

Something has been bothering me recently. On my second viewing of "The Hurt Locker," I noticed a curious detail. There is a scene in which Eldridge plays a video game. The video game is "Gears of War," a hyper-masculine, adrenaline-pumped game about...well, war. The main gameplay deals with firefights, and hiding behind different objects to avoid getting shot, and to avoid dying. It has a real focus on survival, and a real focus on the thrill of the fight. I recently wrote a small article touching on some of the points I think this means on the overall film, but after posing my ideas on some forums, I've come under some huge criticism. One of the main points people have criticized is my point is that I believe Bigelow purposefully intended to make a statement with the game. My favorite comment against me was, "And to even think that this was something so deliberate is almost laughable." She could have chosen any game other than "Gears of War." If she didn't intend for it to carry meaning, why not just make Eldridge play Super Mario? Why a game titled "Gears of War" and not another war game, such as "Call of Duty"? I have consolidated my argument into three questions.

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1. Why is Eldridge playing a video game at all?
2. Why is he playing "Gears of War," and not something else?
3. If the video game isn't important, then why have a second of focus on the screen, to depict the game Eldridge is playing?

If the game is of little or no consequence as some people have suggested, why include it at all? Furthermore, there seems to be an opposition to my analyzing the choice of "Gears of War" with regards to the other themes explored in the film. After this long-winded rant, my question is this: do you believe the choice of including "Gears of War" was intentional on Kathryn Bigelow's part? Secondly, do you think that it's at least worth looking at with regards to its implications on the themes and messages explored in the rest of the movie?

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