“The Hurt Locker” DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2010)

1/22/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

“The Hurt Locker”

Directed by Katherine Bigelow, written by Mark Boal, 127 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

Katherine Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” is just out on DVD and Blu-ray disc, which offers an opportunity for those interested in seeing one of last year’s best films and especially for those who follow the Academy Awards. Considering that the movie almost certainly will snag nominations for Best Picture and Best Director when the nominees are released on February 7, now is a good time to see the movie--and to understand why it’s generating such a buzz.

Bigelow based the film on Mark Boal’s script, and what they created is an uneasy insight into war and the American soldier that isn’t the norm, but the exception.
The film’s focus is on Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner in an Academy Award-worthy performance), who has a girlfriend (sort of) and a child back home, but who comes to the Iraq war pumped for what it might offer him--a rush on one level, certain death on the other. While James never acknowledges either in the movie, the reckless way he behaves as a man who defuses bombs suggests someone on a pleasurable suicide mission.

James joins Sgt. JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) after their team leader (Guy Pearce) dies from an explosion in the film’s opening moments. Almost immediately, when the first set of bombs present themselves to James and his company, he eschews protocol. Sure, he goes through the motions of gearing up in a protective suit, but once he’s far enough away from his team and is upon the bombs he must diffuse, off comes the suit, out comes the ego, and James is in there snipping at wires as if his life didn’t depend on a successful outcome.

The suspense Bigelow wrings from James’ carelessness is impressive in its intensity, particularly since surrounding the men are a growing number of locals who hate Americans. Any one of them could hold the detonator that would blow up the bombs. As such, Bigelow is alive behind the camera. She weaves between the crowds, catching glimpses of contempt while a seemingly oblivious James does his thing--and while a worried and furious Sanborn and Eldridge try to handle a mounting situation that could be fatal for them all.

And yet it isn’t--at least not this time--which complicates matters beyond reason. Is there a method to James’ madness--is he a genius? Or is he just mad and lucky as hell? It doesn’t matter, not even when Sanborn rails at him. Soaked in an adrenaline high, James is fully alive. He treats each scene in which he puts his life in danger as if he’s mainlining the greatest drug in the world--war.

And that’s the crux of Bigelow’s film. At home, James’ life is depicted as sterile, meaningless, dull. How can he get excited by the cereal aisle when he knows he has the skills to repeatedly cheat death? In Iraq, it’s no video game. The bombs and the bullets are real, and for him, there’s nothing better. As he plays with his infant son in one of the movie’s key scenes, he shares with him a truth: He has only one love in his life. Only one thing matters to him.

Nobody should think it’s the child.

Grade: A

View the movie trailer for "The Hurt Locker" below. What are your thoughts?

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  2. Misscrabbypants said...

    I watched it and I think it should win. It's up there as one of the most profound movies I have seen this year.
    I love movies that keep you thinking about it after the credits roll and you are settled down to sleep.

  3. Anonymous said...

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