"You know, this doesn’t have to be a bad time in your life. Going to war is a once in a lifetime experience! It could be fun."
- Doc to Eldridge
Guard: What the fuck were you doin’?
James: I was in a whorehouse.
Guard: Alright…if I let you in…will you tell me where it is exactly?
At a glance:
The Hurt Locker is a harrowing and tense quasi-documentary of a US Army bomb squad deployed in the Middle East
Our review (with spoilers):
Imagine your job is to work in a bomb squad. All day, every day, you are called out to investigate and defuse live bombs that can kill you, your co-workers, and innocent bystanders. Tough job. Now imagine you work in a bomb squad…in Iraq. Not only do you have to deal with explosives, but you have a populace that either loves you, is indifferent to you, or wants to kill you – and you don’t know how they feel until they start shooting or blasting. It is literally hell.
If you do go, you’d best leave your fear of failing at home. James (Jeremy Renner) does so. He shows no fear of the bombs exploding – he just finds the wires and cuts them, even removing his protective suit so he can die in comfort should something go wrong. James’ confidence is so strong that it crosses the border into insanity. To some, he is a hero, but at least one higher ranking officer treats him slightly more like a freak than a hero when he hears how many bombs he has defused. He throws money at an Iraqi boy in exchange for DVDs, but when they are not up to his standards, he jokingly threatens to kill the boy. To Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), he is the alpha male, needing to be challenged, matched kept in line. To Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), his lack of fear is an inspiration – to a point, anyway.
In 1995, director Kathryn Bigelow's film Strange Days also showcased her knack for presenting an uncompromising, often ugly story. The Hurt Locker’s subject matter is perfect for her dark perception of the world. Combined with frenetic editing by Chris Innis and Bob Murawski, Locker is filled with tension that cannot be defused.
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Other reviewers said:
"Like every war before it, the U.S. invasion of Iraq has generated its share of movies. But The Hurt Locker is the first of them that can properly be called a masterpiece."
- Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald)