The Hurt Locker

  • Year:2008
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Kathryn Bigelow
  • Cast:Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Mackie, Guy Pearce, Jeremy Renner
  • Release Date:February 18, 2010
  • Distributor:Roadshow
  • Running time:131 minutes
  • Film Worth:$15.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

A must-see film with gripping performances and vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq.

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This is a first rate war film, as much for what it avoids as for what it includes. There is no flag waving propaganda, no spurious sentimentality, no excessive use of music, no contrived speechifying, and no fatuous scenes of redemption. What we have here is gut-tightening tension and suspense, great performances, emotional clout, meticulous detail and authenticity. Screenwriter and journalist Mark Boal based it on what he observed while stationed in Iraq.


Without wishing to detract from the fine script, direction and acting, it must be said that a large chunk of The Hurt Locker's impact is inherent in the plot's premise. The setting is present day Baghdad, and the major players are members of Bravo Company, a US Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team - a bomb squad, in other words. They're all understandably preoccupied by the possibility of instant death. Their impatience about getting home in one piece is underlined by updates that say, "Countdown in Bravo Company's rotation: 39 days...38 days..."

Enter Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), a man with an entirely different attitude to the situation. James is the new leader of the team, and he remains an enigma. He doesn't swagger or act gung ho, yet he's sometimes crazily reckless, and if not quite enjoying his work, he seems addicted to it. Renner is simply brilliant in the role. The head of James' support team is Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), who defines him succinctly as "a redneck piece of shit." The reality is more complex, but one of the many ways the movie departs from cliche is in its reversal of conventional order: first we watch these people work, and then we get to know them.

The Hurt Locker is stark, claustrophobic and gripping. Don't miss it.

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