The Hurt Locker
Spring 2010 Features series
Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 4:00pm
Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 7:00pm
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay by Mark Boal
Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Bryan Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly
Rated 14A ·
English and Arabic
Of all the films attempting to show what the Iraq war feels like, Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, which has won a slate of awards internationally, is the one that cracks it. There is no better chronicler of pure guts under fire than Bigelow at the top of her game. This film stands among her very best.
After a shocking opening sequence, James (Jeremy Renner) joins a tightly knit bomb-disposal unit in which Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is already the intelligence expert. James, by contrast, is a real cowboy. Even in the hulking shell of his bomb suit, his swagger is obvious. He has successfully disabled 873 devices, approaching the job with the no-nonsense grit of a Bigelow hero – and the recklessness too.
But as the unit faces tougher challenges with each new bomb, the men start to fight James’ bullish methods. They have only thirty-eight days left in their rotation. They want to live to see day thirty-nine.
The Hurt Locker is a masterwork of suspense. Immersing her story in the specifics of the job these men do, Bigelow amps up the tension from the first scene and keeps it cranked throughout. By choosing to depict an explosives team, she has found the key to understanding the particular character of the Iraq war. Just as helicopters and guerrilla warfare encapsulated Vietnam, improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.s) define Iraq. Apart from their lethal force, these hidden bombs obliterate trust. A local kid who has named himself “Beckham” and has adopted a hip-hop attitude amuses the men of the company. But they can’t trust him … any more than they can help him.
Rooted in the present moment yet timeless in its craft and insight, The Hurt Locker joins the pantheon of great American films about war.