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The Hurt Locker (2008)
Reviewed on 2010 March 8
I was curious about this for some time, and when it beat Avatar at the Oscars®, that tore it. I haven’t seen Avatar yet — as someone else put it, I’m not sure I can stomach a two-hour-plus eco-lecture from giant Smurfs — but I thought that The Hurt Locker was very good.
Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Brenner) joins the Bravo Company, an Army bomb squad unit, in the middle of their tour in Iraq. He’s a cowboy and drives his men crazy, especially Sergeant Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), but they work around it because James can practically neuter explosives in his sleep. He also doesn’t seem to fear anything, an attitude which bewilders the other men in the unit. They’re brave too, but James almost seems bloodless as he methodically picks apart bombs that range from deceptively simple to traps straight out of Saw.
I thought this was only a notch below Saving Private Ryan, with a lot of nail-biting as James did his thing while trying to protect his fellow soldiers and Iraqi civilians. We saw what made James tick, even when we wanted to smack him on Sanborn’s behalf. Watch for a cameo from Ralph Fiennes. For a war movie it impressed me for having as little blood as it did and still having such an emotional impact.
Three chocolate morsels.