The Hurt Locker (2008)

Hollywood tends to go to the well time and time again when the United States of America enters into a new military conflict. There are thousands of angles to cover with war movies, like heroic moments, brilliant strategy moves, and the lingering effects of those entrenched in some messed up engagements. 

The Hurt Locker continues the tradition of selecting one particular story among the thousands to show the world the horrors of war. Jeremy Renner is Staff Sergeant William James, the best bomb technician in the Iraq War. James has disarmed over 700 bombs in his career, and it’s made him fearless of death and borderline crazy.  His new crew members don’t understand his methods or the madness, yet they return to base every day safe and sound. 

Usually, platoon members have all the time in the world to bond. Despite their different backgrounds and personalities, these guys don’t hit it off. There’s always a difference of opinion, which adds more drama and tension to the horrible situation they already find themselves in. I’m not saying there’s no respect between the guys; their ability to get along just depends on the day and the mission they find themselves in. 

If you look at the cast list, let me warn you ahead of time that Guy Pierce and Ralph Fiennes are indeed in the story, but their combined screen time is less than 10 minutes. The main characters are Renner’s character, Sergeant JT Sanborn, played by Anthony Mackie, and Sergeant Owen Eldridge, played by Brian Geraghty. You’ll follow the guys are they deal with the opposition of their presence in the desert. You’ll be there when battery mates die and when they have to fight for their lives in the areas outside of city walls. 

I thought director Kathryn Bigelow did a fantastic job of taking us into the action. The Iraq War is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Many people supported the decision to occupy the country, and many objected. There are movies about the war, and then there are movies about the humans involved in the war. Bigelow managed to get us deep into the action with camera angles that make The Hurt Locker one of the best modern war movies out there. 

I watched this 2009 Best Picture winner at the theatre, it was the only time I had previously seen the military drama until last night. Originally I rated the film seven stars on my IMDb profile, and upon viewing it for a second time, I will stand by that decision. 7/10


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