Reviews

The Hurt Locker

4

Cutting the blue/red wire, Iraq-style…

The Hurt Locker review

The Iraq war. What is it good for? More than six years in, you’ve made your mind up by now and no film will change it. So The Hurt Locker doesn’t try to.

Instead director Kathryn Bigelow shifts focus from those that chatter to those that matter – the soldiers – and in doing so has crafted the finest film made about the Bush/Blair Iraq assault and its protracted aftermath yet.

It helps, of course, that she has Point Break in her canon, taking the tension and thrills of her 1991 classic to the battlefields of Baghdad and, specifically, to a specialised unit of bomb disposers.

These Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) blast-busters are Sgt James (Jeremy Renner), Sgt Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), war buddies as family – dad, mum and cry-baby respectively – always squabbling, but forever watching each other’s backs as they tackle various ticking sites amid the chaos of conflict.

As such, the story is slight. Indeed, it’s little more than a series of set pieces – road bomb, car bomb, man bomb – but so fraught is the trio’s every move that watching is exhausting. Take a slow-build scene out in the desert where the Americans rifle-fire at insurgents in the blistering heat…

It may seem trite to say so, but not since the opening of Saving Private Ryan has a war movie made you feel so much part of the battle, the time writer Mark Boal spent embedded creaking into every edge-of-the- seat scene.

The little-known Renner is absolutely superb, both hero and villain as he recklessly leads his crew seemingly without plan. For his Sgt James’ war is a drug, a rush needed that nothing (booze, family, USA) can match.

Sure, The Hurt Locker doesn’t hold a mirror to our times like Vietnam’s finest did, but such films came years after the final bullet was fired. For now, forget WMDs and belated enquiries and join those picking up the pieces after the secrets and lies.

It is their story that The Hurt Locker tells and it’s more all the more exhilarating for it.
 

Verdict:

Bigelow makes a welcome return with a thrilling, edgy and, yes, explosive film about the toughest job in the world. What’s The Hurt Locker? Something special.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • r0rshach

      Sep 2nd 2009, 12:21

      This film is a pile of rancid s**te! TF gave it four stars, other 'critics' are giving it 5. Don't waste your time. Go watch Generation Kill instead. A million times better.

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    • Marshall85

      Sep 3rd 2009, 11:28

      5

      Above comment supplied by person who clearly owns a dribble cup, This film was great, I've told everyone I know to go watch it, Shows you dont need huge over paid cast and over hyped director to make good film....Best film i've seen all year, Kate from Lost in it aswell :D

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    • r0rshach

      Sep 4th 2009, 17:12

      'Above comment supplied by person who clearly owns a dribble cup' Awwwww, did I insult your little film? Here's a few things for you to think about: 1 - Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. 2 - Just because a film recieves 'rave' reviews does not mean it is any good ( The English Patient anyone? ) 3 - Anyone who goes out of their way to insult other people on the internet ( like you Marshall85 ) is obviously a c**k. I stick by my original comment.Rancid s**te!

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    • captainchod

      Sep 9th 2009, 9:23

      4

      Really enjoyed this. The tension throughout most of the film is fantastic, and a little different from the usual battles in war films.

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    • jettiblue

      Jan 18th 2010, 12:24

      3

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    • beck79

      Jan 19th 2010, 13:42

      4

      I nearly by-passed this film as I thought it would be just another run of the mill war movie but I'm so glad that I gave it a try. It's a really great film, full of tension, great action and good acting.

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    • zakmccormack

      Feb 21st 2010, 22:27

      1

      Got bored after about 30 minutes, I definately should have watched something else!

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    • jasminaz02

      Jun 14th 2010, 13:30

      3

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    • dogfonos

      Jul 19th 2010, 0:01

      2

      A film that will divide opinion. I thought it closer to a documentary than a film but without any interesting information. Sure, the camera work and acting are fine but many elements that make a decent film are simply missing. It’s lacking plot and convincing characterisation and is simply a series of connected scenes that don't really go anywhere. And because characterisation wasn't great, I barely cared whether they got blown to bits or not. Those scenes that really should have gripped, just didn't. This film did not engage me at all. I know how well Hurt Locker did at the Oscars so I can only assume that 2009 was a lean year for films. Glad I didn’t pay to see it.

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    • glegs

      Jan 22nd 2011, 6:13

      2

      Dogfonos pretty much read my mind. He summed up the film perfectly.

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    • glegs

      Apr 18th 2011, 7:00

      2

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0887912/usercomments-725

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