Posted on 3/30/10 12:10 PM
This film won 6 Oscars, including Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow and Best Film. It has also picked up a further 72 Awards around the world and had 46 nominations. Given that kind of attention, there must be something really good about it, either that, or everything else was really bad. I decided it must be the first option, so I decided to get the DVD and give it a spin. I wasn't disappointed; it's a really good, well made film about the Iraq war. But more of my thoughts later, here's a short summary.
The leader of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit with the U.S. Army's Bravo Company, Staff Sergeant Thompson is killed in the line of duty. With just over a month of their tour to go, the Sergeant is replaced by Sergeant First Class William James. The rest of the team, Sergeant JT Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge are not put at ease by their new CO's cavalier attitude to his work. It seems that James, although a very talented explosives expert, is also addicted to the danger. This puts his team on edge and arguments inevitably ensue. Things calm down when they come across a group of men from British private military company in the desert. They have just captured two wanted Iraqis but their vehicle has broken down. Just as the EOD team offer to help they come under fire from insurgents. Three of the British team are killed before the EOD team get it together and manage to neutralise the threat. This brings them closer and back at base they celebrate before the reality of the war hits them again the next day. I won't say any more, don't want to give too much away.
I found it a really compelling film to watch. Some great cinematography, the explosions, in particular, looked really impressive. Some great performances too, in particular, Jeremy Renner as Staff Sergeant William James, Anthony Mackie as Sergeant JT Sanborn and Brian Geraghty as Specialist Owen Eldridge. Honourable mentions go to the supporting cast, including, Guy Pearce as Sergeant Matt Thompson, Ralph Fiennes as Contractor Team Leader, David Morse as Colonel Reed and Evangeline Lilly as Connie James.
I'm quite surprised this film didn't do as well at the box office as its critical acclaim might suggest, however I do remember it coming to a local multiplex and only being on show for a week. But over all I really enjoyed this film, it kept you guessing where it was going next but also allowed you to engage with the characters. The, kind of, documentary style put you right in the centre of the action which made it a more exciting experience. Definitely one of the films of 2009 and I recommend it very highly.
My score: 8.7/10