Set in Iraq in a post-invasion time The Hurt Locker follows a group of American Soldiers who spend most of their time trying to locate and dissuse bombs or IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). It seems also to be another film with a terrible title, but then maybe you’ve got to be down with the military lingo to get it.
It starts with a quote: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug” which sets the tone for the whole film. It’s about the psychological affects on the individuals in the situation and as characters come and go for various reasons the focus shifts to Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) who is the most gung-ho and ballsy in terms of actions (but in a calm and collected manner) of all the soldiers. He also displays all the symptoms of an addict – ignoring the people around him and seeking out greater hits.
The film sucks you into the warzone and ratchets up the tension and for the most part I was completely there. One scene in particular where the Americans come across a British team of soldiers and are attacked from afar out in the desert is fantastic and very Western-esque with long drawn out shots and an almost unseen enemy. It’s an ideal film for a Cinema setting, with a big screen and dark surroundings adding to the atmosphere.
The only parts where I drew back were the needlessly macho ‘Hell yeah!’ chest-thumping ‘U-S-A’ scenes of the soldiers bonding between the battles which for me were a bit too American, but then it is film about Americans by an American director. And a lady-director at that since you mention it.
4 on 5
Director – Kathryn Begelow
Starring – Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes
UK Release – 28 August 2009