Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review - The Hurt Locker

An elite U.S. Army bomb disposal team in Iraq is assigned a new Sergeant. Their new Sergeant, Staff Sergeant William James, is highly trained however equally reckless. The team must learn to work together while enduring the deadly cat and mouse game of disposing bombs that could be hidden anywhere within the sprawling city.

Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break & Strange Days) directs "The Hurt Locker" and delivers without a doubt this year's most intense and riveting film. From the opening shot to the final frame, the viewer is absolutely capitivated and on the edge of their seat, holding on with very little time to relax or ease the dramatic tension within "The Hurt Locker." Bigelow perfectly presents a realistic and eye opening portrayal of the deadly day-to-day work of a EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team in Iraq.

Not only is Bigelow's direction flawless, the performances throughout "The Hurt Locker" go unsurpassed. Jeremy Renner is breathtaking as Staff Sergeant William James. His portrayal of a over-the-edge bomb defuser is stunning and his delivery of James's psychological and emotional strain from the war and the years of defusing bombs is Award worthy (Renner actaully won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead in 2009 for "The Hurt Locker"). Anthony Mackie is also exceptional as Sergeant JT Sanborn, a subordinate of Staff Sergeant William James on the EOD team in Iraq. Mackie also won a Spirit Award for his performance in "The Hurt Locker" and his Best Supporting Male Actor Award was very well deserved. Mackie's performance hinges on his ability to learn and control his new Staff Sergeant and he pulls of the portrayal with hypnotizing precision.

The entire supporting cast of "The Hurt Locker" combine for a stunning cinematic experience. Brian Geraghty plays Specialist Owen Eldridge and powerfully presents a soldier that most Americans can easily connect with, one who is timid and afraid, but does the best he can under the intense conflict he is submersed within. Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pierce and David Morse all provide a small highlights in their minor characters in the 131 minute film.

Mark Boal's fantastic script puts the viewer directly into the emotions and action of the soldiers during the current Iraq War. The film quickly sets a frantic tone that comes with the deadly mission of defusing bombs that could be anywhere, ultimately only giving the viewer brief moments that are not as explosive. Boal was actually embedded with a EOD team in Iraq, which became the source of the screenplay and film. There is no doubt that "The Hurt Locker" takes the viewer places previous war film's have not. "The Hurt Locker" delivers a substantial punch of reality, illustrating the experiences of the soldiers and when you are done watching it, you most definately feel like you've been in war.