Movie Review: The Hurt Locker

Movie Review: The Hurt Locker


The Hurt Locker

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

Plot Synopsis:

When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James’ true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever. [Uncredited,]


Finally, we’re starting to hit the real films of 2009.  This summer has been plagued by pretty lousy “event” films.  Most of the pretty horrible and underwhelming.  While I enjoyed G. I. Joe for what it was, The Hurt Locker arrives and shows us what a real war movie is.  Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break) gives us her best work to date with The Hurt Locker, bringing us the best modern warfare film since 2001′s Black Hawk Down.

The Hurt Locker is a film that works best if you going in knowing as little as possible.  While I had some things spoiled by reading reviews and blogs, the film still worked.  However, I think if I had gone in knowing nothing a few moments could have had a significantly more powerful impact.

Kathryn Bigelow has really turned heads with this movie.  She’s always been an interesting director.  Near Dark is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Point Break is a great time.  But, she hasn’t come through with an Oscar worthy film yet.  Well, that is, until The Hurt Locker.  If this film doesn’t give her a well deserved Best Director and Best Picture nod at the Oscars, I will stop watching the Academy Awards.  The intensity and emotional impact of the film enhances the action sequences.  This the first well-balanced film of 2009.

Jeremy Renner is the one to watch here.  Think Tom Cruise’s Maverick character from Top Gun but with actual depth.  He’s fun to watch and very engaging.  Also, there is that layer of unpredictability and recklessness that makes the character so compelling.  You really don’t know what to expect from this guy.  All other supporting characters are great and help elevate this film to a level above just a war film.  These are real guys in real situations, and you can relate to all the characters you’re introduced to.

There are many more things I absolutely love about the film, but don’t want to give anything away.  The Hurt Locker has a handful of memorable scenes and action set pieces.  Also, the intensity of each scene had me on the edge of my seat.  From the music to the editing, The Hurt Locker is an intense experience worth having in the theater.  If you can see it on the big screen, do it.

Kathryn Bigelow has just pole vaulted up into my favorite directors top 10.  I’ve always had respect for her films, but only a few can be considered great films.  Until now she’s been hit or miss.  But, with The Hurt Locker, she’s delivered a masterpiece.  One of the few great war movies and hands down the best film that depicts warfare in Iraq.  The Hurt Locker is a refreshing standout in a ho hum Summer movie season.

Rated R for war violence and language.