The Hurt Locker delivers in ways and areas that other war films don’t touch on. Not only focusing on the action, killing and death facets of war, it shines a light on the human side of soldiers and those involved in the violent result that comes along with it. Director Kathryn Bigelow puts us right in the middle of present-day Iraq to tag along with a U.S. Army bomb-unit who only has a little over a month left before they can go home.
Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) takes over a bomb containment squad after its former leader, Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson (Guy Pierce), is killed while trying to neutralize an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) left in the middle of an Iraqi town. The team, Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), is left to learn to take on and deal with James’ reckless and unorthodox tactics.
Seemingly fearless and a bit of a loner, James takes every bomb-defusing challenge head on and always finishes whatever he starts. Through their time together, Bravo Company (their unit’s name), goes through his ups and downs of constantly being in highly stressful situations right along with him. Not to mention their own personal worries and eagerness to finish out their tour and return home alive and well. As each suspenseful experience comes and goes, they discover deep and surprising things about themselves and each other.
This film, although pretty lengthy, doesn’t make the audience feel the 2 hours and 15 minutes that it takes to reach its end. The story written by Mark Boal refuses to let the plot drag and eventually bore us. Not only focusing on the suspense contained in every scene which includes the hopeful resolving of possible explosives but also on the surrounding hostile environment and its inhabitants. I was eagerly watching every second involving a bomb, obviously tense due to not knowing what’s going to happen. Practically being able to feel what the characters might be going through in that very situation, you find yourself breathing a sigh of relief whenever they make it out of a predicament unscathed.
The acting in this film was very well portrayed. I could see why it received so many award nods. You experienced with them when they were upset as well as understood why, you felt when they were sad, you even felt when they were drunk…and you understood why. Life surrounded by war and death is no where something that even resembles easy. You want them to return home safe probably more than they do. A steady check-in counter of how many days they have remaining helps keep the story in perspective.
Enjoyable to say the least, if you appreciate films based on war and the trials and tribulations that come along with it, then you will value this movie. I give The Hurt Locker “4.5 edgy moments of bomb defusal out of 5”.
“ The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”