At first glance(at the preview), The Hurt Locker may seem to be another dumb war film, or a dumb war film by the standards set in the past, but once one begins to watch this piece of cinema, it is almost instantaneously apparent why it is the most critically acclaimed film, gaining a average score of 94 on Metacritic and 84 on Rotten Tomatoes, of the year. Though Avatar won the Golden Globes for best Director and Motion Picture of 2009 and is on the verge of taking Titanic’s place as the highest grossing film of all time, The Hurt Locker is more than worthy of being called of the best films of the year, if not the best.
The plot of The Hurt Locker is simple: there really is no plot. The film centers around the manic, evidently insane, Staff Sergeant William James and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit of Bravo company he has been assigned leader of. His subordinates learn fairly quickly that he is not right in the head and eventually conspire to kill him. The film never truly resolves that minor conflict, although the friction between James and Sanborn advances and comes to head later in the film. Though at the film’s start it appears to be simply be about soldiers disarming bombs, it is actually a tense drama that explores the life the three members of this unit during their stint together.
One of the films strongest points is in how it portrays James in an objective manner, yet it does not necessarily condemn his actions or the reasons for his actions. He is the member of the unit most likely to get the other two killed, but he still manages to get the job done and save lives that would otherwise be lost. A second strong is the score which, like There Will Be Blood and Capote has this subtle, menacing tone that heightens the dramatic sequences as well as the scenes of engagement. The last strong point would be the direction and acting which are by no means flawed. The characters are believable, although Jeremy Renner does at times remind one of his previous role in 28 Weeks Later through similar behavior.
The films one weakness is its length. Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes is not too long, but the end does seem to drag on a bit. In terms of scenes, no scene is truly unnecessary, but the film could become tiresome for some audiences by the time it concludes.
*Licorice awards it 4.75/5*
Khyber Pass by Ministry-the track playing in the trailer and at the film’s end.