Saturday, August 1, 2009

"The Hurt Locker" Film Review

The Hurt Locker subtly makes an anti-Iraq war statement. The film is more than a tense drama about three soldiers in an elite bomb disposal unit but what it shows about the Iraqi people's indifference to our presence. It is a stinging indictment of the mistake of this war. There are no scenes of Iraqis giving our guys flowers and candy because that's not what happened. There are only scenes of our soldiers struggling to identify insurgents from innocent civilians. The apathy that the average Iraqi citizen feels for our presence to outright hostility depicted in the film should ask the question, "What are we doing there?"

Jeremy Renner plays Sergeant William James. He joins the unit when another soldier gets killed. Anthony Mackie plays Seargeant J.T. Sanborn. Brian Geraghty is Owen Eldridge. Sanborn and Eldridge are the two surviving members of the unit. Intially, Sanborn and Eldridge are appalled by James swaggering and reckless approach to diarming bombs. Eventually they bond as a unit. But that doesn't change James. He continues to bull his way into situations that endangers the unit. He stands for American blundering into Iraq.

The performances are top notch. The three unknown actors give realistic performances. Watch for cameos from Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and Lost's Evangeline Lilly.

Mark Boal'x screenplay has dialogue that sounds real. It feels more like a non-fiction story. Kathryn Bigelow's direction is sharp and tense. She gives it a documentary feel, with frequent use of hand held cameras. It works here because her characters are usually more engaged in bomb disposal than running around which induces nausea to the viewer. Though, I wish more directors would stop using the hand held camera because of the instability of the picture. Regardless, she makes the movie riveting and both tell the soldiers' psychological toll of fighting the Iraq War.

The Hurt Locker is an intense drama that will receive Oscar nominations. The grade is "A." Here's the trailer.

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