Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Hurt Locker (2009) 8.5/10

DIRECTED BY: Kathryn Bigelow

The Hurt Locker follows the tale of 3 members of an army bomb defusal squad.

Starring up and down talents Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later) and Anthony Mackie (Eagle Eye), The Hurt Locker is a captivating tale of men who put themselves right into the thick of danger day in and day out. Subtle in its character studies, the movie centers on the experienced, but wildly rebelous, Staff Sergeant William James (Renner) who has just been moved up after the death of JT Sanborn (Mackie) and Owen Eldridge's (Brian Geraghty) commanding bomb expert. By the book Sanborn and Eldridge struggle with their new commanding officer, and don't like his eradic style of doing things.

From the opening shot till the end Bigelow has created an intriguing mixture of stylizied shots, and quiet character studies, filled with a mixture of action and drama. Shot mostly during the day, with the exception of a couple of scenes, the lighting provides a generally interesting backdrop to the settings these characters are put in. And yet it is the natural tensity of the moments that bring about the film's central drama. The movie analyzes how all 3 of the main characters deal with each situation, and since all 3 are so very different the results vary from situation to situation. Bigelow handles these shifts rather carefully, and in return we are rewarded with a set of events that lead to a better understanding of each of our core characters.

Mark Boal, whose only previous work is In the Valley of Elah, is in many senses lucky to have had Bigelow take on the project. Bigelow's natural nack for tension brings out the best in moments that feel a bit underwritten. Boal's talent for characters well compliments Bigelow's action background, and the two are able to meet in the middle in order to produce a powerful piece of film. As well in order to keep the film centered on its purpose the two manage to keep everything about the film rather simple. There's no over the top action scene, no insane twist at the end, no corrupt government plot, the film is just about what the summary tells you it is about.

On the downside the movie is probably about 10-15minutes too long, which I find ironic sence I wish I could see 10-15minutes of what happened to all the main characters when they returned home after their tour of duty. Ultimatley though the film stays centralized on Sgt. James, and his final decision gives us one final tid bit of insight to his true overarching character.

A powerful film, with a good array of drama and action that's well worth your time to check out.

Overall Rating: 8 and a 1/2 out of 10.

1 better thoughts:

CJ said...

I just recently reviewed this movie and loved it. Good to see you blogging.
(cjsmovies RT)

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