The Hurt Locker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hurt Locker Reviews

Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
August 29, 2009
Bigelow's film combines an expert management of tension with a sensitive and journalistic attention to detail: she has one eye on the truth and the other on the multiplex.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
July 30, 2009
One of the best movies of the year, with a star-making performance from Jeremy Renner.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 24, 2009
Like every war before it, the U.S. invasion of Iraq has generated its share of movies. But The Hurt Locker is the first of them that can properly be called a masterpiece.
| Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 24, 2009
The question isn't how do you live with the buzz of looming death; it's how do you live without it? No answers are offered, or even suggested.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
July 24, 2009
Like her protagonist, Bigelow is both a meticulous technician and a ballsy showoff. And, like him, she has ice water in her veins.
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 23, 2009
The Hurt Locker is at once an unforgettable war film and a brilliant character study.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
July 22, 2009
This beyond-the-headlines war movie, a 'ticking clock' thriller from journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal, is the first Iraq War movie to qualify as more first-rate entertainment than sermon.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
July 15, 2009
Bigelow's direction is confident -- the action sequences are tense and suspenseful, so much so that The Hurt Locker also works as a straight-up war film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
July 10, 2009
The miserably visceral exists here not as exploitation but out of the demands of authenticity.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 10, 2009
It's the best war movie since Full Metal Jacket.
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 10, 2009
We've had good and very good Iraq movies for several years now, but The Hurt Locker has a fullness of understanding that sets it apart.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
July 10, 2009
As unpredictable and tragic as it is genuinely riveting.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
July 10, 2009
Just when you thought the battle of Iraq war dramas had been fought and lost, along comes one that demands to be seen -- if you can handle the raging adrenaline.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 10, 2009
Psychologically acute and thrillingly dramatic, The Hurt Locker blows every other Iraq war movie off the screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 10, 2009
The Hurt Locker is about Iraq in the same way that Paths of Glory was about World War I or Full Metal Jacket was about Vietnam -- which is to say, utterly and not at all. The Hurt Locker is a great movie, period.
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 10, 2009
Like all the best war movies -- no matter what war, what era -- The Hurt Locker goes to the core of human nature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
July 10, 2009
The Hurt Locker leaves an impression. It practically leaves a bruise.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
July 9, 2009
Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow have made a unique film about war.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 9, 2009
[Kathryn] Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...have made the first fictional feature about American soldiers in Iraq that doesn't fall apart, or preach to a choir, or turn into a position paper.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
July 9, 2009
The Hurt Locker is a spellbinding war film by Kathryn Bigelow, a master of stories about men and women who choose to be in physical danger.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
July 7, 2009
... a super-smart actioner about men in war that's arguably the best American film of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
June 29, 2009
Outstanding performances across the board, but I thought Anthony Mackie in particular really, really nailed it.
Top Critic
Ben Lyons
At the Movies
June 29, 2009
One of the most authentic and powerfully believable war movies in recent times.
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
June 26, 2009
A movie that deserves to stand as one of the defining films of the decade.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 26, 2009
Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude, it's both the film about the war in Iraq that we've been waiting for and the kind of unqualified triumph that's been long expected from director Kathryn Bigelow.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
June 26, 2009
Despite its pumped-up admiration for our troops and some scenes that spurt adrenaline like a fire hose, this sort-of-thriller about a bomb squad working in 2004 is stretched both timewise and for plausibility.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
June 26, 2009
In the end, Bigelow's point of view is what's most interesting about The Hurt Locker. The picture's strength lies in the details she focuses on.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
June 26, 2009
By keeping its scale miniature instead of epic (there are no combat scenes in the traditional sense), The Hurt Locker keeps its audience in a constant state of tension without risking battle fatigue.
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
June 26, 2009
A first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
June 26, 2009
Finally, Hollywood has made a great film about the Iraq War.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
June 26, 2009
The director, Kathryn Bigelow, shot with four lightweight cameras, and the imagery is rarely still. The jitteriness is appropriate for a world where everything can suddenly blow to smithereens.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
June 25, 2009
When it comes to getting an audience's attention, there's nothing quite like blowing up a major star within the first five minutes of a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
June 25, 2009
Offers a fresh take on the war and the men in it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
June 25, 2009
If The Hurt Locker is not the best action movie of the summer, I'll blow up my car.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
June 25, 2009
For the first hour or more, The Hurt Locker boldly forsakes any conventional narrative hook beyond the ongoing tensions between these men and the terrifying grind of defusing bombs day after day.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
June 25, 2009
Our American love for mavericks is bound to get tied in knots watching James' cavalier approach to everyone's death. He's a hero and a menace.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 25, 2009
More than any recent movie, this has a 'you are there' feel to it that gives us a flavor of an Iraq we don't see on the nightly newscasts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
June 25, 2009
There is something powerfully convincing about Bigelow's way of placing the viewer in a situation where death is unpredictable, can come from 360 degrees, and is indiscriminate about who it takes.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 25, 2009
Here's the Iraq War movie for those who don't like Iraq War movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
Village Voice
June 24, 2009
Instead of setting out to prove a point, it seeks to immerse us in an environment -- something Bigelow does with a conceptual rigor usually associated with those directors whose work is confined to film societies and art houses.
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
June 23, 2009
Its insights and reach extend far beyond what's happened there over the past several years.
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
June 22, 2009
The Hurt Locker is a small classic of tension, bravery, and fear, which will be studied twenty years from now when people want to understand something of what happened to American soldiers in Iraq.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
June 22, 2009
The Hurt Locker might be the first Iraq-set film to break through to a mass audience because it doesn't lead with the paralysis of the guilt-ridden Yank. The horror is there, but under the rush.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 17, 2009
An intense, action-driven war pic, a muscular, efficient standout that 
 simultaneously conveys the feeling of combat from within as well as what it looks like on the ground.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
April 3, 2009
The Hurt Locker is a near-perfect movie about men in war, men at work. Through sturdy imagery and violent action, it says that even Hell needs heroes.
Top Critic
James Adams
Globe and Mail
October 18, 2008
Bigelow and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd crank up the tension to nail-biting, gut-churning extremes and the mayhem is powerfully visceral.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Deborah Young
Hollywood Reporter
September 5, 2008
Tensely action-packed and muscularly directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this tale of an elite U.S. army bomb disposal unit in Baghdad is a familiar story in new clothes, targeted at the young male demographic.
Top Critic
Derek Elley
Variety
September 4, 2008
Often gripping at a straight thriller level, but increasingly weakened by its fuzzy psychology, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker doesn't bring anything new to the table of grunts-in-the-firing-line movies.