Hurt Locker, The (2008)


 It's what happens when a punishment closet's all grown up
It's what happens when a punishment closet's all grown up

Genre: Action Drama War Thriller

Starring: Jeremy Renner (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford • 28 Weeks Later), Anthony Mackie (The Manchurian CandidateMillion Dollar Baby)

Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days • K-19: The Widowmaker)

Overview: When a demolitions expert is killed in the line of duty, Sergeant First Class William James is sent in to Iraq to join Bravo company in their mission. Bravo company soon realizes that this new replacement may be more of an adrenaline junkie than an asset.

Having recently re-enjoyed "Band of Brothers", being most genuinely impressed with HBO's "Generation Kill", and equally un-enthused by Fox's über-weak "Over There", there was plenty of fresh war campaign/Iraq content in my mind when I settled in to finally get around to the Best Picture winner of the 2010 Academy Awards. I was even a little worried that l'd be oversaturated in military plans, combat lingo and chain-of-command scenes. The Hurt Lockerthe tale of a demolitions disarming expert doing a tour in Iraq, is in fact, not a story of Iraq.  It’s not about a soldier’s fight in a bullshit war, a noble war, or any kind of war at all. What The Hurt Locker is, is the character study of a thrillseeker seeking his thrills in a location that has more thrills per square inch than most places on earth. Imagine my surprise when instead of the story of a FUBAR bunch of people resigned to 'just following orders' with so little control that they fear for their very lives, I was graced with a personal story about a man in control - so much in control that those around him fear for their very lives.

When Sergeant First Class William James first walks in on the scene to replace a man killed in the line of duty, his first actions are to ignore the mandatory protocol of sending out a bomb bot. He continues to piss on the way things are done, chosing to slough off the emcumbrances around him to make life easier, whether it be orders or the massive bomb disposal suit. His team worries that James may have a death wish, but it may simply be that he just loves bombs and the challenge of disarming the fun little intricate ones.

Although The Hurt Locker suffers a couple times from being all too expository, it's still a terrific setting for a character study, and for as drab as desert sand camo on the background of desert sand may seem bland to watch, there's plenty of urban ghettos and explosions to make even the bluntest jock stop and say "Cinema!" at the visual spectacle happening before us.

Spoiler alert! There's essplojuns!
Spoiler alert! There's essplojuns!

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 9 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 82% (A Real Blast)

Let us ignore the five other Oscars this film won including Best Director and Best Screenplay... actually, no let's not ignore that. Kathryn Bigelow is the first female director to ever win an Oscar in the 82 years the Academy's been giving awards. She's been around directing mainstream Hollywood features since 1982, and her 9th film won her that magic statuette, and yeah, I even wrote about her back in 2006. I'm glad to see that the post's wish has come true. Never would have expected it from the lady who directed Point Break... Yep!

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