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The Hurt Locker [Blu-ray]
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The making of honest action movies has become so rare that Kathryn Bigelow's magnificent The Hurt Locker was shown mostly in art cinemas rather than multiplexes. That's fine; the picture is a work of art. But it also delivers more kinetic excitement, more breath-bating suspense, more putting-you-right-there in the danger zone than all the brain-dead, visually incoherent wrecking derbies hogging mall screens. Partly it's a matter of subject. The movie focuses on an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, the guys whose more or less daily job is to disarm the homemade bombs that have accounted for most U.S. casualties in Iraq. But even more, the film's extraordinary tension derives from the precision and intelligence of Bigelow's direction. She gets every sweaty detail and tactical nuance in the close-up confrontation of man and bomb, while keeping us alert to the volatile wraparound reality of an ineluctably foreign environment--hot streets and blank-walled buildings full of onlookers, some merely curious and some hostile, perhaps thumbing a cellphone that could become a trigger. This is exemplary moviemaking. You don't need CGI, just a human eye, and the imagination to realize that, say, the sight of dust and scale popped off a derelict car by an explosion half a block away delivers more shock value than a pixelated fireball.
The setting may be Iraq in 2004, but it could just as well be Thermopylae; The Hurt Locker is no "Iraq War movie." Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal--who did time as a journalist embed with an EOD unit--align themselves with neither supporters nor opponents of the U.S. involvement. There's no politics here. War is just the job the characters in the movie do. One in particular, the supremely resourceful staff sergeant played by Jeremy Renner, is addicted to the almost nonstop adrenaline rush and the opportunity to express his esoteric, life-on-the-edge genius. The hurt locker of the title is a box he keeps under his bunk, filled with bomb parts and other signatory memorabilia of "things that could have killed me." That none of it has killed him so far is no real consolation. In this movie, you never know who's going to go and when; even high-profile talent (we won't name names here) is no guarantee. But one thing can be guaranteed, and that is that almost every sequence in the movie becomes a riveting, often fiercely enigmatic set piece. This is Kathryn Bigelow's best film since 1987's Near Dark. It could also be the best film of 2009. --Richard T. Jameson
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Top Customer Reviews
On the plus side, the story bowls along at a reasonable pace most of the time (although there's no plot to speak of) and there are some good action sequences.
To summarise, this is a reasonably entertaining, though somewhat overlong, utterly unoriginal and unexceptional film. I'm just glad we only borrowed it.
men become addicted to it.
Mostly critically lionized, but attacked by many, especially soldiers for being inaccurate.
I didn't take the film that literally, or think of it as documentary realism, but more a stylized almost poetic
look at the insanity of wars and what can happen to those caught up in them, much like 'Full Metal Jacket'.
This felt real on a meta level, not a literal one.
There were a few logic lapses that bugged me, and the impact emotionally is (by choice I felt) muted. It's
more a disturbing picture than a moving one.
But it made me think and made my heart race, and images and moments have stayed with me for a long time
They did borrow a tad from "All Quiet on the Western Front" by sending the dissenbomer home to an environment that did not understand him.
I would give you more details about the film but that is all there is. Okay takes place in Iraq 2004.
Actual filming Locations are "Amman, Jordan", "Kuwait", and "Langley, British Columbia, Canada."
The Blu-ray has a voice over commentary. This explains why this looks like one long commercial for a film by people that were just reporters.
Main protagonist sympathetic.
I found it very instructive about EOD teams work and reality of the war so far from home.
A classic alongside American Sniper.