Film:The Hurt Locker
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie
Direction: Kathryn Bigelow
For once, the upbeat word of mouth not to speak of the multiple Oscars is more than justified. A truly remarkable achievement, The Hurt Locker offers a persuasive account of an elite U.S. army bomb-disposal unit in Iraq. It’s punctuated with so many nerve-jangling set pieces that we wonder how Kathryn Bigelow pulled the feat off with such panache.
An ace action helmer with a flair for traditionally masculine movies, her earlier credits include the vampire saga, Near Dark (1987) and the hallucinatory thriller, Strange Days (1995).
Working from a script by the Rolling Stone journalist Mark Boal, the director zeroes in on the three-man squad whose job is to defuse roadside explosive devices planted by Iraqi insurgents.
The commander (Renner) of the team gets an adrenalin fix every time he puts himself in harm’s way. By contrast, his combatants-in-arms (Mackie-Brian Geraghty) are content to count the days until their tour of duty is over.
Every twist and turn in the drama is more than plausible. Bigelow convincingly conveys the trauma and turmoil of the soldiers day after day. The action sequences whips up considerable dramatic tension.
There’s real artistry in the hard-nosed camerawork of Barry Ackroyd which gives the film the edge of a docu-drama. Yet again, the finale in which the commander briefly returns to his family in America is heart-rending.
Satisfying from the first frame to the last, The Hurt Locker ranks among the most accomplished contemporary war films.