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The Hurt Locker (2009)

At a glance:
More Jarhead (2005) than Black Hawk Down (2001), less-than-industrious female director Kathryn Bigelow returns with a technically accomplished, frighteningly realistic and morally challengin war movie called The Hurt Locker. Devoid of all the in-your-face drama and intrusive music that war movies so often shoot down your throat, this compact adventure about a self-conflicted Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit with the U.S. Army's Bravo Company is a festival favourite that can win over commercial audiences if only given the chance. We're led to Iraq to follow headstrong Sergeant First Class William James (a composed lead performance by Jeremy Renner, smokin, pic) whose passion for bomb diffusion goes beyond the call for duty. The man doesn't even care that the previous soldier in his position (Guy Pearce) was killed in similar operations but his subordinates certainly don't take kindly to this maverick manoeuvres. The 'safety-first' Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie, black, pic) and the nervous Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) form a bond with him but war and death mean different things to each of them. As they go on more and more daily operations involvin the disarmin of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), we're brought uncomfortably close to the action and learn to see what life is like as a soldier.
Perennial wonderment:
Why ain't we seen much from Kathryn Bigelow? Point Break (1991) must be good. Near Dark (1987) was class. Ain't got the chance to see K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) yet.
Reminds me of:
Saïd Taghmaoui and Don Cheadle in Traitor (2008).
Watch out for:
British attitudes towards the war, personified by a Ralph Fiennes cameo. Wonderful suicide bomber sequence near the end. Hurt Locker goes for impact both in terms of physical bombs and human drama. Explosions are dusty and powerful (obligin a slow-mo scene every now and then) and the characters are complex but their actions, singular. They don't need to talk about what they're doin or why they're doin it - they just do it.
Most memorable line:
Colonel Reed: What's the best way to go about disarmin one of these things?
Staff Sergeant William James: The way you don't die, sir.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?Reportedly, producer James Cameron said this about his ex-wife's film: I think this could be the Platoon (1986) for the Iraq War. The movie is from an acclaimed source material - best-sellin 2002 novel War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning by a NY Times war correspondent. It even opens with a quote card from it - the rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug. You won't hear many complaints about this neat effort, unless you're sorry Evangeline Lilly from TV's Lost only gets about five minutes of screen time. Four stars.
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