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The Hurt Locker

September 26, 2010

The Hurt Locker (2008)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Actors: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

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Synopsis: An elite bomb squad negotiate deathly dangers each day on their patrols through war-torn Iraq.

Review: The praise The Hurt Locker received on its release, and when it subsequently went on to win the Best Picture prize at the Oscars, is slightly surprising as I consider the film to be a touch overrated on those exalted terms. As a no-nonsense, functional thriller however, about military operations in Iraq, it’s perfectly fine. I see it more in the lineage of Kathryn Bigelow’s directorial signature of action and adrenalin (think Point Break), and less about the ‘realism’ of the Iraq War. What Bigelow does is actually affect and demonstrate that reality through handheld cameras, more edits that you’d get in a Tony Scott film, and altering the recording to reflect the dissonant sounds of life on the Iraqi frontline. Taken on those terms, then it’s easy to admire Bigelow’s craft. The story is episodic without too much character backstory – letting the action itself out the various players in the IED unit – and each of the individual missions depicted are just as likely to end safely and anti-climactically as they are in explosions and tragedy. (September 2010)

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