After reading some extremely favorable reviews of The Hurt Locker in some trusted website sources, I was anxious to see it. Numerous sites rated it the best movie of the year. However, despite making an appearance at my local cinema (shocking given it’s limited release status), it dissapeared quickly. To my elation, I found it was playing at my local budget theater and went immediately.
To be succinct, the movie is excellent in most every way. The cinematography is beautiful, the actors give strong performances (especially the lead, Jeremy Renner), and the story gripping. None of the scenes feel forced, and yet, you find yourself deep in heart-pounding action scenes. The tenuous and slippery path between the actions onscreen and the overwhelming feeling that something terrible is about to happen keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Politically, the movie is pretty subtle, though some would comment that the psychological aspects of it are tired. You genuinely feel the frustration and longing for change that the soldiers are experiencing as they try to get through their rotation, without any real sense of purpose, except keeping one another alive and doing their job.
In a key scene, the lead breaks away from your typical soldier group scenes and infiltrates a small village in civilian clothes. In my opinion, this willingness to break apart the man from the machine, and show the vulnerability and emotion that drives him is what sets this movie apart from many of the others made recently about Iraq and Afghanistan. You can’t help but identify with the struggles of the soldiers to remain relevant and keep positive, despite the hostility of their environment and their general unwillingness to succumb to death at the hands of their hosts.
Overall, one of the best war movies of the decade, especially so given the light of current circumstances.