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The Hurt Locker (2009)

July 30, 2009

8/10 Hardcore Dudes

Screw The Kingdom. This is the freakin’ movie to see about the war in Iraq.

The Hurt Locker is about three members of a U.S. military bomb squad stationed in Iraq. With a little over a month left to go before their tour of duty comes to a close, their team leader/bomb defuser is killed in the line of duty and is replaced by a hotshot Army Ranger whose antics might just get them all killed or save their lives.

See that poster? Yup, those are bombs. Pretty crazy.

The movie’s directed by Kathryn Bigelow, whose other big claim to fame was helming Point Break. And while I’d stand up for Point Break any day, Bigelow has seriously come a long way since the days of Johnny Utah. She has put together one hell of an intense action movie that not only puts you on the edge of your seat but also carries with it a number of really important messages on a lot of tough issues that people outside of the military will probably never really understand, myself included.

The driving theme behind the story is that “war is a drug”. The three members of the bomb squad all react differently to their circumstances; one is living in a constant state of shellshock, convinced that he’s going to die at any moment, another does his best to stay cool as he gradually breaks down from the inside out, and the hotshot takes it all in stride like an adrenaline junkie as he puts his life on the line without thinking twice. The movie does a great job of addressing how absolutely insane war is and the endless of multitude of ways in which it affects the soldiers on the front lines, their lives and families back home, and why, for some reason, we always keep on going back to war. 

On that note, the acting is also really good on everyone’s part. This guy I’ve never heard of, Jeremy Renner, plays the hotshot new guy and he is totally awesome. Part of it is due to the fact that he’s written as the most entertaining character of the bunch, but you know good acting when you see it. Keep an eye out for Renner. Anthony Mackie, that smooth mofo, does a good job as Renner’s smooth mofo comrade, the one who’s crying on the inside, and so does the third nobody of the bunch, Brian Geharty, as the wimp of the group. The movie is also filled with a lot of unexpected A-lister cameos that are all pretty surprising, but hey, A-list cameos never hurt. Guess word got around about this movie.

Some of the best parts of Bigelow’s direction in Point Break (ie: the filming of the skydiving, surfing, and bank heist scenes – all really impressive from a filmmaking standpoint) have only been improved upon here. I don’t know how she got the feel of this movie to be so damn gritty, like they just up and dropped a guerrilla film crew into Iraq and shot the damn thing with complete disregard for the possibility of getting shot to hell by everyone around them, but it all feels very, very legit and she doesn’t sugarcoat it whatsoever. It’s really impressive to watch, and along with the colloquial feel of the script to back it up, the whole experience comes off as the closest thing I’ve seen to capturing what the war in Iraq is actually like without having to literally put you in the trenches.

Not only is this one seriously intense and realistic action movie, but it’s an important one as well. It has a lot of really profound things to say about something not a lot of people can truly vouch for and my hat’s off to Kathryn Bigelow and first-time screenwriter Mark Boal (double hats-off) for putting together something that’s far more than just a wild time at the movies.

So go see The Hurt Locker. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be in theaters, but it’s worth looking around for. It’s sure as shit got to be better than that dungheap G-Force.

Great title for a movie, too. Fuckin’ badass.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2009 5:16 pm

    Surely the greatest movie of the year so far. Bigelow is a female director and has made some of the biggest dude films I have ever seen. Renner and Mackie are reall great, and the cameos are cameos but they actually mean something in this movie other than the usual “get these guys in the movie so people will come and see.” The film looks as if it were a documentary on the Iran war itself. If any woman can win Best Director it is definitely Bigelow. I swear this film gets snubbed at the Oscars i’m done with it. They may be able to do it to Rourke but not to The Hurt Locker.

  2. Ryan permalink
    July 31, 2009 3:42 pm

    Really interesting movie. Some of the bomb defusing scenes are so intense my heart was pounding in my chest. A really unique perspective on the war. Definitely worth seeing.

  3. Mark Redmond permalink
    January 16, 2010 9:28 pm

    Just watched it on video, really liked it. Loved the opening quote by Chris Hedges, he writes a blog on TruthDig, wrote an entire book about the addiction-like quality of war, I can see why Ms. Bigelow selected him to open up her movie.
    p.s. Aiden is right, there were cameos that made sense and not, as he writes, so people will go see it, but the back of the DVD box has Evangeline Lilly listed as one of the four actors in the movie. Give me a break, she was in it for, what, 2 seconds?


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