The Hurt Locker
“War is a drug.” This statement is featured in a quote at the beginning of Kathryn Bigelow’s latest testosterone filled movie, The Hurt Locker. Those four simple words may not seem like much at the beginning of the film, but it will all make sense at the end. While the film takes place during the Iraq war, The Hurt Locker is not concerned with preaching about the horrors of war. This is film is all about the entertainment, and on that level it succeeds greatly.
After losing their squadron captain (Guy Pearce), the Bravo Company must deal with a new leader who has his own unique methods for defusing bombs. James (Jeremy Renner) is what many would consider a “cowboy” in the field; he frequently breaks protocol and recklessly puts his life on the line. This makes his subordinates in Bravo Company, especially Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), very uneasy about working with him. As the bomb-defusing missions get more difficult, the uneasy tension between the men grows even greater.
The Hurt Locker is a film that thrives on tension. Bigelow does a fantastic job keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Whether it is the stellar opening sequence, a shootout in the dessert, numerous bomb-defusing scenes, or the men reaching their boiling point with each other, the film is never dull. Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie have great chemistry and bring good depth to their individual roles. Not only do we understand what makes James tick but also how it affects the decisions he makes later on in the film. The bond that James and Sanborn have always feels authentic, even when they are ready to knock each other out.
I also like the little subplot in the film regarding a solider who fears death. Not only is it a good contrast to James’ character, but it also brings a subtle human aspect to the overall crisis overseas. This film is easily the most accessible (i.e. purely entertaining) movie surrounding the Iraq war to come out in a while. The Hurt Locker delivers the suspense on several levels. Be sure to keep an eye out for some inspired cameos by Ralph Fiennes and David Morse.