The Hurt Locker
Rated R; Directed by Kathryn Bigelow; Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, David Morse, Ralph Fiennes
Director Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days, Point Break) enjoys making testosterone-laden films. She stays far away from the typical “female” types of films. In The Hurt Locker she once again goes for a male-oriented movie, and to good effect. The Hurt Locker is an intense depiction of the life of a bomb destruction team stationed in Iraq.
The film takes place in Iraq in 2004. We get no moralizing or politics about the war, instead it is scenes of men performing a dangerous job in a harsh and unwelcome environment. The movie keeps you on the edge of your seat as you watch Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) put up with the new team leader, Staff Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner). James is an adrenaline junkie who has no compunction about putting himself or his compatriots in danger. He is also very good at his job.
Hand-held camerawork helps create a documentary feel as we watch the men face various situations where they must defuse or destroy bombs. Early on in the movie we learn that this is not a forgiving profession, which helps heighten the tension in later scenes. Jeremy Renner is excellent as a man who doesn’t know how to live without excitement. James is a common character type in many movies, but Renner makes James’ demons interesting. The rest of the cast is also good and aA few big stars show up in small roles to good effect.
The Hurt Locker is the kind of movie that grips you and doesn’t let go. The cast, story, and Bigelow’s direction makes for an interesting and exciting film.