The Hurt Locker (2009)
Critic Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.
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as Professor Nabil
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Critic Reviews for The Hurt Locker
We may not like Staff Sgt. James all that much, but those of us who get our adrenaline fixes at the movies can recognize a bit of ourselves in him.
More than anything, The Hurt Locker is a high-wire study of men at work, its lack of overt politics replaced by a revelatory central performance.
There is much that is fiercely modest about its ambitions. And, for a war film, it is often disconcertingly quiet.
This is a harrowing picture, made all the more disturbing because it's based in a war that is being waged right now.
Audience Reviews for The Hurt Locker
A US army bomb disposal tec makes waves in his new unit because of his gung ho attitude. The Hurt Locker is an interesting war film, mainly because its indie sensibilities make it a very unusual treatment of this subject for a product of the US movie making industry. It's quite a reserved, unsentimental film about the impact of a "war" that has no visible enemy; not quite in the same way as Jarhead in which the soldiers just could not find an army to face, but because the enemy hides itself in plain sight amongst the innocent population. This obviously causes great conflict within the soldiers, always unsure whether to fire or not to fire and seemingly never able to punish the perpetrators of the atrocities they witness on a daily basis. It thankfully avoids heavy-handed patriotic bullshit instead concentrating on the effects of the situation on each individual and the fine performances all round make for fascinating character study. The "battle" sequences are also very well staged, and although the dreaded shaky cam did irritate (the constant zoom switching and miscued shots are so obviously deliberate that it just made it feel even more fake rather than less) it is technically very accomplished on every level. The only faux pas for me was the closing scene in which "our hero" is striding purposefully back down a Baghdad road to a heavy metal riff which was a bit too John Wayne and seemed to be at odds with the tone of the whole of the rest of the film, but otherwise another quality war film about a very sensitive subject.
Gripping, intense, and extremely well-acted, "The Hurt Locker" shows the war like never before. Jeremy Renner is in his breakout performance, which will eventually lead him to superstardom. As we follow a bomb-defusing team, we are placed in events that seem so real you will be on the edge of your seat, hoping for our cast to make it out alive. The writing is terrific, the direction is top-notch, and the story is displayed to perfection. Kathryn Bigalow's "The Hurt Locker" is definitely my favourite film of 2009!
Lacking a narrative arc. There's no central conflict to keep the audience interested. Instead it's just repetitive unrealistic war scenes, and it really drags throughout its long running time. Yawn.
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