February 10, 2010

The Hurt Locker

My nerves are shot after watching The Hurt Locker. Director Kathryn Bigelow has made a masterful, yet not overtly political Iraq war movie. While it reinforces the idea that war is hell, its depiction of the lives of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad (EOD) is so realistic and natural that one gets the impression that the soldiers are only there doing their jobs while hoping to live another day. If you're trying to decide which wire to cut or if that person on the roof is a sniper, there really is no time to think about or discuss whether you are waging a just war or not.

Jeremy Renner plays the skillful but brash new squad leader Sgt. Will James. He is so single-minded about bomb disarmament that he apparently has no qualms about endangering his fellow soldiers. His heedless attitude puts him at odds with team members. Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is commonsensical and does his job by the book while skittish Specialist Eldridge(Brian Geraghty) is trying to overcome his insecurities and obsession with death . The comrades-in-arms battle their own inner demons as they dutifully complete their stressful missions. Watch out for unassuming cameos from Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce and Evangeline Lilly.

The filmmakers put us right in the middle of the intense, thrilling, hyperventilation and anxiety-inducing action. I cannot imagine being in a place where every citizen you encounter might be an enemy combatant, every car that approaches might have a bomb. I came away with an even more profound sense of awe and respect for our brave men and women in uniform. At the same time, the film humanizes the innocent Iraqis who are simply trying to go about their daily lives, caught in the crossfire.

Brava to Ms. Bigelow! I've already picked my Best Director and Best Picture.

(photo from Impawards)


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