Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Hurt Locker. A


The bomb squad usually consists of three men. One puts on a heavy suit and walks to the bomb trying to defuse it before it detonates. The others wait with their eyes open for snipers or anyone else who might be setting off the bomb or giving a signal for someone else to set off the bomb. They see a man shaking out a carpet from his balcony. They don't know if he's an innocent man trying to clean his carpet, or if he's giving a signal. They see someone on their phone. Are they having a conversation with a friend, or are they about to set off the bomb? Or are they calling someone else to set off the bomb? This is the situation faced by EOD teams over in the Middle East. Kathryn Bigelow's stunning triumph, 'The Hurt Locker,' dramatizes the lives of these specially trained men on the teams. William James (Jeremy Renner) is a newcomer to the squad. But he's no rookie. He's defused over 800 bombs in his life. It's his passion. It's what he lives for. You could call him a lunatic. Or a genius. Or both. His unorthodox methods make the fellow members of his squad bitter and angry with him. Yet they realize how brilliant he really is. They know he's boss. They can do nothing. The suspense and tension in 'The Hurt Locker' is brilliantly conceived. More so perhaps than any movie I've seen because watching it the viewer is fully aware that this is an accurate depiction of what EOD teams do all the time. They could die any second. But they willingly take that risk. The bomb scenes are evenly matched with moments of drama that explore the characters' inner feelings. There is also one incredible shootout in the desert between the soldiers and several snipers. But it's a realistic shootout, with bullets only flying occasionally. I could go on praising 'The Hurt Locker,' saying how great it looks, feels, how tremendous the performances are, how cool it is that the two biggest names in the movie are only in two scenes, how astute Bigelow's direction is and so on... I could praise this movie endlessly because I really do love it. But for now to simply call it a great movie is enough. And I'm glad that it's getting all the recognition in awards season. It deserves it.

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