Film Review 61: The Hurt Locker

Of all the war movies I’ve seen, The Hurt Locker is the best. It won the Best Director, Best Picture and 4 other awards at the 2009 Academy Awards… Do I even need to write a review to convince you to watch this?

Prior to the Academy Awards, Avatar was such a huge hit and all the buzz about it led me to believe that James Cameron would win the Best Director and Avatar the Best Picture but a part of me hoped they wouldn’t. Avatar is a good movie but it’s also overrated, that’s why I didn’t want it to be the biggest winner of the night and what a pleasant surprise that it wasn’t. The Hurt Locker was. I hadn’t seen the movie then but now that I’ve seen it; No doubt it should be.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the movie opens with a strong quotation by Chris Hedges, a New York Times war correspondent, who wrote in his book, “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.” The story then begins with the arrival of Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) at the US Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Iran as a replacement for the team leader who died on duty. Sergeant James is an allegory of the opening quote. He is a fearless man who acts on impulses. He difuses bombs like it’s a win-or-lose game instead of a live-or-die matter and becomes oblivious to death threats and puts his teammates’, whose job is to cover for him, lives at stake as he gets caught up in his own game.

There are many war films that try to touch on the politics issue and scream moral advice at audiences, but none of those elements here. The Hurt Locker is a presentation on human nature and the moral of the story is up to audiences to decide. I believe movies that let audiences decide for themselves are more effective than those who tells audience what to decide. The film is written a journalist, Mark Boal, and the movie is shot like a documentary style with a journalistic point of view, transporting us to the scene and keeping us tense throughout the movie. It gives the experience of being on war ground from where you’re sitting. I have to praise the amazing actors who make the battle feels so real, especially Jeremy Renner whom I’ve nver heard of but will remember from now on.

A war movie is never one of my favourites but all hail to The Hurt Locker, it could very well be.

Mel says: 8.5/10

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