The Hurt Locker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hurt Locker Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
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!
Market Man
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2012
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.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ August 11, 2012
A well executed war film that brings out the best from its actors and bursts out intense visuals from the cinematography. A destructive and fantastic film.
Super Reviewer
½ May 11, 2012
Real action, real dialogue, and real suspenseful. This film really blew me away. Renner and Mackie put on great performances, and Bigelow does a fantastic job directing. The characters' thoughts and feelings are conveyed very well while the overall realism sets this movie apart from others. An overall terrific film.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2012
This film is beyond describability its that entertaining.
Super Reviewer
March 16, 2012
A close-up and personal thumbnail overview of just one U.S. unit during a war, part of a technically superior occupying force in a Third World nation, yes, but still way outnumbered, still way nervous. Bigelow does a superb job of letting us get to know each man intimately as they handle the carnage around them, and their own possible impending carnage, differently.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2011
First off, I give Kathryn Bigelow a standing ovation for outstanding direction. A phenomenal achievement. This movie is created perfectly; the editing, the cinematography... Kathryn Bigelow brings us into the tense and dangerous environment of these characters. You can grasp the tension that this movie throws at you. HOWEVER, I do not agree this deserves best picture or best screenplay. The dialogue is awful. And though this movie was directed to a perfection, the plot was not engaging enough. When there were action scenes, the audience would be in that exact situation, panting and sweating just like the characters, but when the plot advanced, there was a disconnection due to many different factors. Overall, I highly recommend this great but flawed movie.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
One of the times that the Academy got the Best Picture winner spot on.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2011
Insulting to the military and laughable in its attempts to be realistic, because of course the way you defuse seven artillery shells wired together is to go lay on top of them them with a pair of wire cutters and try and cut the wires to the blasting caps. I also learned that even EOD guys are well versed in the use of 50 cal and can hit multiple moving targets at 500 yards.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2009
One of the best films of the year, with courageous performances from both Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. It's a near-perfect action/war film that is intense throughout and tough to watch at times. This is the third best film so far this year, right behind "Inglourious Basterds' and "District 9" by just a bit. This is definitely a movie that should be included when the "Best War Movies" lists are compiled. Although it lacks a little in character development, the brutal action that is captured from a first-person scope by director Bigelow is completely riveting, and never for a second uninteresting. Hands down the best war film since "Black Hawk Down" - no question.
Super Reviewer
½ December 21, 2011
Normally I don't watch movies about war. Perhaps wars have to be fought, but I don't have to watch movies glorifying wars. Yet this is an interesting film. Primarily about what it takes for one particular soldier to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal expert (the guy in the bomb suit dismantling bombs).
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2009
I still don't think this was better than Avatar, but it was gritty and difficult and it stared the "realities" of the Iraq War in the face. I put "realities" in quotations because it's not likely that anyone, in any army unit - particularly a bomb squad, in a war as sensitive as this one - gets away with being so cavalier. In fact, insubordination generally has a price. But what's important about this film is the ultra-talented bomb technician that Renner portrays, with that layer of vulnerability barely beneath the bravado on which he's made his name. A little less believable than John Wayne, but perhaps only because our memories are so fresh. Well-acted, and with the appearance of a documentary, The Hurt Locker is a gripping, exciting and moving watch. But it's not a better movie than Avatar.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2011
I thought it was okay. I see hints of what the hype was all about, but I feel like i'm missing something.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2011
"The Hurt Locker" is a film that hasn't been seen for a long time, and I'm pleased it has finally arrived. Winner of the academy award for Best Picture "Hurt Locker" delivers a gripping, harrowing story that keeps you involved and in the action, as you feel yourself de-arming a bomb.

Kathryn Bigelow, the ex-wife of James Cameron won best director for her excellent look at the Iraq War, beating her ex-husband and proving that "Avatar" was nowhere near as good as everyone thought.

Bigelow directs the film beautifully, getting everything almost right, the action, the angles, the atmosphere. They all fit together and create a smooth and enjoyable ride of a film.

An enormous amount of credit must go to Mark Boal, writer of the screenplay and author of the original book based on the wartime experiences of Boal as a journalist following a group of bomb dis-armers in Iraq.

The film does just that, follow a group of bomb dis-armers as they work in Iraq. It's a simple story, but it works simply as well.

Cinematography is a must, as is the majority of the acting, the main characters played by Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie are relatively unknown, something which worked very well with a few big names to add on the credits list.

Despite some people calling it an action film, it is not. It is almost a biography of a general soldier in this role. The action is superb and it adds to the tension and atmosphere, but it's the still moments as well which make it what it is.

Not a box office hit like Avatar, "Hurt Locker" was an excellent film which proved that having millions of pounds worth of CGI and stupid special effects and 3D didn't actually make a film good.

What made a film good was when everything worked, a great story, first class cinematography, acting and direction.

**** 4 Star
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2010
A stunning film! Brilliant performances by the main characters, Jeremy Renner in particular. An awesome script, intense story, beautiful cinematography....this film has all the elements for a great film. This is a an extremely well-rounded film.
This is one of the most thrilling, suspenseful, and intense films I have ever seen. Much of the movie revolves around the main character dismantling bombs and the life of him and his team. As the music dies and the sweat rolls down his face, the intensity is unlike anything I've seen before. The Hurt Locker delivers this emotion from the opening scene. Brilliant!
My absolute favorite thing about this film is the character depth and development. Each of the three main characters display a unique personality, opposite from the other two; each actor brilliantly delivers a fantastic performance to show this. As the film progresses and gets more and more intense, these personality differences come out and adds a whole other dimension to the film, which in my opinion, is the most thrilling and sensational aspect of this film.
Another special thing about this film is the cinematography. It is simply unbelievable. The scenery, setting, atmosphere, truly allows for the story to tell itself.

With all this being said, I must admit that the first time I saw this film, I was not completely in sync with it's praise. I liked it alot, but for some reason I found myself asking, "That's it?" As it won the Oscar for Best Picture, I was confused as to why. 2009 was a weak year, in my opinion, and I knew Avatar would never win Best Picture, so I supposed this was the "best of the rest." Let's just say I now no longer feel the same way. I think that I went into this film with certain expectations, so when it was differnt, I missed the point. But after a second time, I can see the brilliance in this film! The Hurt Locker, sorry for dissing you before! I still don't know though....Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker??
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2011
Definitely the best film about the Iraq War thus far, the Hurt Locker offers the thrills, suspense, and action of any top-grade Hollywood flick, yet is nonetheless bogged down by such obvious dramatizations that it loses the opportunity to be an actually *realistic* take on the conflict.
Super Reviewer
½ May 3, 2011
The Hurt Locker is one of the most thrilling war films I've ever seen, and for me, it came out of nowhere. I didn't know anything about this movie before watching it (except for the hype), and I was not disappointed. Jeremy Renner gives a very memorable performance as an unhinged soldier looking for his next adrenaline fix, no matter the risks. I feel it was Oscar-worthy. Guy Pierce and Ralph Fiennes weren't bad additions either. I really enjoyed the 'documentary' feel the film cinematography was given, it worked to perfection. There were some beautiful shots, which I assume is very hard to do in a war-torn Iraq. The editing work was also as good as it gets, a well deserved Oscar. A phenomenal film, and a near-perfect War film.
Super Reviewer
½ April 28, 2011
I maintain that it takes a lot of patience to get through this, because The Hurt Locker is not an easy watch. It's a tone poem if anything, about the gamelike, horrifying yet exciting arena of war.
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