The Hurt Locker (2008) – Kathryn Bigelow

Kathyrn Bigelow’s war drama, The Hurt Locker is the next big title in DK Canada’s The Movie Book, with an all-star cast, Guy Pearce, Anthony Mackie, Ralph Fiennes, Evangeline Lily, David Morse all led by a stellar, captivating performance by Jeremy Renner as Staff Sergeant William James.

James is serving in Iraq as part of a bomb squad, but sound finds himself at odds with the rest of his unit, when his maverick behavior endangers himself and others. He is the personification of the ideal that for some, war is a drug,

This is where James excels, he is amazing at what he does, despite the risk he puts everyone and himself in, and he does not know how to deal with life back in the world.

The sequences of the squad on patrol are shot hand-held, tense, and keep the audience on edge, even as James and Sanborn (Mackie) find themselves at odds over James’ behavior. Bigelow proves once again that she is a master of the action sequence, and the sequences are terrifying in their reality. War is not pretty, and the sequences are gritty, dirty, and filled with white knuckle tension.

And James gets off on it. This is where he shines.

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When he rotates home, he’s not quite sure what to do back in the States. He can’t connect, and he misses the rush.

Renner was nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t go home with it. However, the film did take home six other Academy Awards, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

The film is a fantastic achievement, and Renner absolutely captivates on-screen, James is wound tight as a wire, and while he may be amazing at his job, he most definitely cannot be trusted, so Sanborn takes his life into his hands every time they go out on patrol together.

Midway through the film James finally opens up and reveals personal details of a life that he can’t control or understand back at home, where he’s out of his element, and that may be the real reason he keeps returning to the war zone.

It’s also cool to realize that three members of the MCU are in this film, and honestly, anytime David Morse shows up on screen, that’s a good day.

The Hurt Locker isn’t a fun watch, it’s a tough, harsh film that doesn’t pull its punches, even as it looks good telling its story. Each of the actors in the film rises to the tasks put before them and their character arcs are solid, believable, and relatable.

This is a great film.

Haven’t seen it? Check it out.

Or pick up a copy of DK Books’ The Movie Book and find a new to you classic to watch tonight.

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