BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: The Hurt Locker

Image courtesy of IGN

The Hurt Locker
Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Written by: Mark Boal
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Ralph Fiennes

The Hurt Locker is that little military movie in the summer you didn’t see because you’d rather have watched Transformers 2 for the third and fourth time in a row. But I wouldn’t put myself on any pedestal, I didn’t see The Hurt Locker until it came out on DVD after garnering a plethora of critic groups awards and Golden Globe nominations, hoping the hype for Hurt was worth the watch. It is the movie against all odds, small budget in a big summer, female director in an industry run by men, an Iraqi war setting in the age of modern war movies being serious taboo, The Hurt Locker overcomes those obstacles, but not with the blast of fierce action as critics promise. Instead, it’s defused and delivered with a slow burning tension which is rare among war movies.

The film follows the reckless Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) as he steps up to head a bomb squad unit serving in Baghdad. His unusual and ballsy methods are not only cause trouble for the squad, but often is responsible for their ability to overcome some of the great obstacles they face. Their journey is a journey with no destination of place, but that of time. Each day survived is one day closer to them returning to home to their wives and families. The plot appears to follow the conventions of a typical modern war film, but The Hurt Locker is far from that. Taking unexpected turns and leaving politics aside, director Katherine Bigelow explores deep into what makes these characters tick, sans all the standard patriotic “I love my country” bullshit.

The Hurt Locker is near perfect on page, with it’s clever tinkering with sound mixing and hand held camera work. But it’s this near perfection that restrains it from being truly great. It’s a film with little flaws and a film with little risks. Barely does the film wow or do anything impressive, but nonetheless still a ticking time-bomb of a film, unfortunately that bomb fails to really ever go off.

Grade: B

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