The Hurt Locker (15)
This is a powerful film about war and the effects of war on the human psyche. The film follows a bomb disposal (EOD: Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit within the US army shortly after the invasion of Iraq for their last five weeks’ tour of duty. The unit acquires a new team leader, Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) after his predecessor is killed by a bomb. James soon acquires a reputation for recklessness amongst his unit who feel that he is endangering them as well as himself.
There are some terrific set pieces. The film has a documentary feel to it, giving the audience a very realistic idea of what it must be like to wonder all the time which stone or car or person you see around you will be the one to blow you up. James realises that he is addicted to war, to the adrenaline rush, that this is what he is good at, what he wants to do with his life. It is unexciting, domestic life at home in America that he finds alienating.
Mark Boal, who wrote the screenplay, was a journalist in Iraq during the war. He also co-wrote In the Valley of Elah. Kathryn Bigelow started her career as a painter, winning scholarships to the Whitney Museum Study Program and Columbia University School of Arts. She directed her first film in 1978. She said about The Hurt Locker, “War’s dirty little secret is that some men love it. I’m trying to unpack why, to look at what it means to be a hero in the context of 21st-century combat.”
Cast: Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, David Morse, Guy Pearce, Jeremy Renner, Ralph Fiennes
Kathryn Bigelow | USA | 2008 | 131 minutes | 15
Weighted vote 92%