The Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow, the director who gave us splendid vampire movie Near Dark (one of my favourites) and equally enjoyable SF flick Strange Days, really hits the mark with The Hurt Locker.

I finally caught the Oscar-winning movie last night, and wow.

The title is certainly apt, with the film following the events that befall a team of bomb-disposal experts in Baghdad with the arrival of a new leader, Will James (Jeremy Renner).

James is an adrendalin junkie, much to the concern of his new team-mates: after all, when you’re defusing bombs, you’d like a steady hand on the wire-cutters.

This is no Good Morning Vietnam or Blackhawk Down or, thank God, The Green Berets. There is no singular enemy for the team to overcome, no overarching narrative of right vs wrong, no great moralising: it’s a very personal story about men reacting under the most dire of pressure, and the relationship that forms between them.

Bigelow has shot this brilliantly in a semi-documentary style that gives it emphasis without playing too many emotional violin strings (and in fact, music is used scarcely and brilliantly).

The acting is superb (with notable roles for Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce, the tension palpable at times, the story unpredictable in its events if not its conclusion. And, like most good war movies, it leaves you asking, why.

I expect The Hurt Locker (official site and YouTube preview) will rank in the best movies of my year.

Here’s a sample of the superb music in the film, Khyber Pass by Ministry, played over the closing credits.

3 thoughts on “The Hurt Locker

  1. I’ve seen this three times now and I love it more every time. It’s a brilliant movie and I have to say I thought Jeremy Renner was a revelation. One thing though, I had absolutely no idea that Kathryn Bigelow was Australian! There was no mention of that in the media when she won the Oscar and I would have thought the Australian press would have milked that for all it was worth – what gives?

  2. Oops. I’m glad you pointed that out, Paula. Ever since Near Dark, I’ve always had the misapprehension she was an Aussie, but I’ve looked her up on IMDB and she’s born in the USA. My bad.

  3. I also caught The Hurt Locker on the big screen and wasn’t disappointed.

    There were two big draw cards for me,
    1/ Kathryn Bigelow aka Near Dark and Strange Days fame
    2/ the fact that this was actually a re-release of this movie
    According to Wikipedia –

    “It was released theatrically in Italy during 2008 when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival. After being shown at the Toronto International Film Festival it was picked up for distribution in the United States by Summit Entertainment. The film was released in the United States on June 26, 2009 but received a more widespread theatrical release on July 24, 2009. Because the 2008 film was not originally released in the U.S. (at least in an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles) until 2009, it was eligible to be judged in the 82nd Academy Awards held in 2010.”

    I got a lot out of this movie. The opening few minutes were amazing! There aren’t many movies where I find myself actually gripping the seat’s arm rest but I found I was doing this on several occasions during this production.
    “Balibo” is probably the only other recent movie of note with this kind of tension and also well worth viewing.

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