Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is without a doubt, the best movie of the year so far (and that means something since we are at the half-way point). Now before you think I'm just hyping this as a masterpiece and that doesn't mean anything because I'm just a lonely blogger on a little known review site, then know this- The Hurt Locker has achieved universal acclaim (not almost universal acclaim, but just 'plain-and-simple' universal acclaim). The film opened up at many festivals and was greeted with enthusiastic response from the crowds, often receiving prolonged applause when the credits rolled. The film is a definite contender to secure a nomination for Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigalow), Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), and Best Actor for Jeremy Renner. This is also the first film about the Iraq War that is flawless. Vietnam and WWII both have their share of perfect films, but films about the Iraq War have been met with skepticism mainly because of the filmmaker's political agendas. The Hurt Locker is not a liberal film or a conservative film, it is quite simply about war and the men who fight it. 

War is depicted as a drug, and for Staff Sergeant William James, there is greater thrill then using a drug like war. Jeremy Renner plays James like a down-to-earth man who views Iraq as his war. James is a bomb-defusing specialist and Anthony Mackie plays his partner. The partner's job is to look out for Will while he goes to investigate the bomb scare, but more often then not, Renner's character decides to take an unorthodox approach. In one scene, James takes off his gear and says, "If I'm going to die, I'm going to die comfortably." William James is a hothead and he frightens his entire platoon (that includes David Morse, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, and Brian Geraghty) to death. Yet as much as Will gets off on the thrill of battle, he still loves his family (Evangeline Lilly plays the wife) and can barely balance the idea of returning to them while somewhere else on the same planet as he is, there is a bomb to be defused and thrills to be found. In fact, in one scene, James puts his bomb gear on in his bunk while safely back at base, and he just begins to cry.

This film is vivid, brave, responsible, and action-packed. I refuse to go into any more detail at the expense of ruining one of the artfully true experiences of the year. All I ask is for you to please go see this movie as it approaches a wide release. The enjoyment and emotion to be found in this film is just as potent as the "drug" of war.

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