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The Hurt Locker Hurts
grivand9 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There is nothing worse than a hugely overrated movie, indeed a bad movie is infinitely better. If the list of overrated movies were to made right now, the hurt locker would be the runaway winner. Popular with the critics, for what reason, I cannot fathom. One assumes that to be a professional critic, you need to have seen a movie or two, but here they are, people who have watched the likes of the hurt locker a million times and give it disproportionate praise. Something is fishy. The movie is not making any statement beyond what is known and hasn't been packaged better by far superior movies of the past. Friend and foe are very sketchily described. By the end of the movie, we know nothing more of the protagonists beyond the fact that the lead character is a nut job, who shouldn't even be in the army let alone as a leader of any sort.

To add insult to injury the academy has added it's blessings and voted this picture, best picture. The academy's decision is a bit easier to explain once you take the academy as a body that is more interested in making statements rather than one that actually rewards merit. The statement here is that it was high time a woman won the coveted best director award (Streisand more or less said so). Not much beef from anyone there but just giving her the award would have exposed it for the token sham award it was, so her average run of the mill, been there, been done a million times before and much better,see Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (Not even nominated for best picture, in it's time), had to be given the most prestigious award in the whole of cinema, in order to give the best director nod more weight. Indeed the only award that mattered until now. In the words of Jay-Z, we are not fooled, they need many more people. The academy was already on shaky ground to begin with by giving Scorsese's The Departed best picture as a reward for past glorious achievements and oversights - The critically acclaimed Raging Bull and the truly masterful Taxi Driver and Goodfellas. Next was the award going to another average run of the mill affair called Slumdog Millionaire, which had the cinematography and look lifted straight out of City of God, a film which truly deserved best picture status, the year the award went to mediocre Chicago. I won't be taking any of these cinematic awards seriously anymore but in their own interests this sort of gestures are much more meaningful when they are merited and thus cannot be viewed as some sort of affirmative action. When they do decide to reward the first black director, I hope they choose a work that stands to very close scrutiny like Spike Lee's Malcolm X that should have won that honour in 1992.

As for the film itself, my sentiments are already expressed above. The only thing that would make it special are not anything on screen but the fact that it's an explosive filled war flick directed by a female director. I gather there are so few of these around that the first one that comes along has to be given crowning glory. People talk of suspense.What suspense? You have the lead character dragging about 20 bombs on the ground and he emerges out of that situation virtually unscathed! Not only that he has time to find and cut the right wires while the shadowy figures who planted the bombs patiently wait for him to finish his job. If you are looking for suspense after that, I suggest watching more movies. No, this is John Rambo or that chick from Kill Bill. Basically a bullet proof character, who is wholly unlikable and continually puts the lives of everyone around him in danger and is extremely arrogant to boot. The only reason he is alive at the end, is because, well, it's a movie and a poor one at that. Talking of reality then becomes academic unless we are talking of reality in a superman/seinfeld-like Bizarro world. In the world where I live in, this is just another pop-corn flick that should not be taken too seriously. It neither transports any amazing insights into the human condition nor describes any sequence of events that can be related to reality. It has no interesting protagonists but cardboard like figures whose archetypes have been long been established in Hollywood and the narrative is neither imaginative nor innovative. Only because every one and their mother is so willing, so eager to dish it with awards is it even gaining attention. Otherwise it would have sunk in the long list of utterly forgettable, inane films, perhaps popular with a certain group, where it invariably belongs.
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Kathryn Bigelow's Masterpiece
The_Fifth_Echo17 June 2010
I am truly sadden that this film got bashed so much. I hear reviews saying this film "sucks" or it has too many inaccuracies. Movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List have also "some" inaccuracies in them. (They are Masterpieces) It is pretty sad this film has been getting this bashed. It doesn't deserve to be.

The Hurt Locker is full of suspense and is directed beautifully by Kathryn Bigelow. I'd have to say this is movie truly captures the Iraq War. What a dangerous war it was for our soldiers. This movie shows us what our soldiers went through. This isn't bashing the American soldiers at all or even War. It gives us a great deal of appreciation for our troops who are risking their lives every single day for Us, Freedom and the U.S.A.

The true purpose of this movie is to not just praise the soldiers. But for one of the military's unrecognized heroes which are the technicians of the bombs squads who risk their lives to save others. This is the purpose of the movie to let everyone know what these people do.

This time and I know all of you out there, don't want to hear it, the critics are actually right. This movie is fantastically directed by Kathryn Bigelow and she rightfully deserved her Oscar for best director.

I know many Avatar fans out there probably rated this movie a 1, without even seeing it because it won Best Picture and Avatar didn't. This movie seems its suffering from the curse of Best Picture. More people have watched Avatar than the Hurt Locker. So of course this film has gotten bashed by so many. I think SOME of the bad reviews are the Avatar Fanboys who are just angry Avatar didn't win Best Picture.

Please don't just go along with the bad reviews this film has gotten from IMDb. Just try and watch this film.

The Hurt Locker is a war epic, that I hope it becomes appreciative as time passes. 9/10 Highly recommended.
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Strong contender for best movie of 2009
Dogwhiz15 August 2010
Quite easily the best movie of 2009 and the best war movie since Black Hawk Down and maybe even beyond that, The Hurt Locker does something that few other war movies seem to be able to do. Rather than focusing on rapid-action combat scenes and the oh-so-emotional mental breakdowns that all soldiers seem to dramatically endure in Hollywood (Platoon, much?), it emphasizes the relationships of soldiers and the intensity of everyday living in Iraq– intensity that doesn't diminish when the guns are holstered. And that's where you'll see the real difference.

The film introduces a seemingly new and unique idea by following a U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team as they go around defusing potential bombs all around town– a concept that allows the typical fast-action war theme to take a backseat to the dramatic intensity of the three team members' escapades and arguments. It's all about survival and this time around, it's the calm, isolated atmosphere and the feeling of never being truly safe that creates the ever-present suspense. The exceptional editing is partially to thank for such constant energy and pace. Quick transitions ensure that there is never a dull moment and the audience is always thrust into the middle of the action. Plus, director Kathryn Bigelow employed some amazing cinematography (thanks to Barry Ackroyd, United 93) and some of the best shaky hand-held-cam and zoom work I've seen yet. It seems that, for some, this might be a turn-off, but personally, I believe those who complain about shaky cam need to take a closer look at its purpose and realize that it's far more effective in establishing a documentary-like feel for raw and engaging films such as this one.

The interaction between the soldiers is a key point of the film and the entire project is clearly intended to be largely character-driven. You will more than likely find yourself sympathizing with all of the main characters at some point and several others along the way. More than just observing a character's breakdown at the scene of war such as in films like Jarhead, The Hurt Locker immerses the viewer in the world of the characters themselves and practically forces you to care for them– and I mean that in the best way possible. And perhaps the difference is also partially distinguished by the quality of acting. And if there's anyone who deserves recognition for their acting, it's most certainly Jeremy Renner, who surprises with a top-notch performance as Staff Sergeant William James. His performance will have you laughing at bits of humor scattered throughout, gasping in disbelief at one point, shedding a sympathetic tear at another, and yelling at him in exasperation in yet another scene. The characters are never two-dimensional and the film always manages to provide constant reminders that all of the soldiers are just normal people in war situations, driving its purpose home even more effectively. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are impressive in their own roles and share great chemistry both with each other and with Renner. The relationships between the three follow no stereotyped guidelines and their interactions are almost always unpredictable. Further down the billing, Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes also give solid performances worth mentioning.

Overall, The Hurt Locker is a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through and packs a visual and cinematographic punch without the over-the-top Hollywood action scenes and special effects. While the storyline may be inaccurate when it comes to certain little details (as many war vets have noted), it's a unique one and allows for much more realistic and well-rounded characters. You'll walk away with your heart still beating fast for a good while after the credits roll and it'll make you think for an even further extended period of time. Everything about its design and execution will stick with you.

--The Motion Picture Underground
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This is BAFTA's best picture for 2010?
adanathel25 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I am so surprised that this movie is getting awards for absolutely nothing....

This so called realistic and objective movie seems like a propaganda filled stupidity that insults both peace advocates and solders...The Iraqis are portrayed as crazy bombers and the solders are portrayed as independent thrill seekers.

When discussing realism I must say that I'm not in favor of the war down there, I haven't been in the military and have no idea how things are done but...I 'm pretty sure it is not like this. Except for the first scene of the movie the rest seems ridiculous and fake.The squads seem that they don't follow a single rule and do not have a single superior to keep them under control or give them hell because of their stupid heroics.And I may not be a military man but I am an engineer and i know that cars cannot catch on fire by a single bullet and that a butcher doesn't have to get out of his shop and wave his cell phone( so that the men he is trying to kill see him) to detonate a bomb. And if someone thinks "Well its not realistic because its poetic" I tell him: There is a difference between poetic and stupid. The scene when Clive Owen gets out of the building and no-one shoots because of the baby in "Children of Men" is unrealistic because its meant to be poetic.Certainly you don't see something like that in this movie.

From a Cinematic point of view the script is just a series of missions without any reason,The characters do not progress at all and the story is full of clichés. The unexperienced military doctor that does crowd control like an English butler and then dies horribly, the scared solder, the thrill seeker with an underground sense of sensitivity and the list goes on....

As a conclusion...WHY OH WHY DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE THIS MOVIE...Even if I was a solder i would probably be insulted by this....
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Boring, irritating and senseless
banteros7 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There's a good reason why this film pulled in only $16M at the box office. "A full-tilt action picture", "Ferociously suspenseful." Yeah right. If the hype on the DVD cover were true, this film would have rocked the box office. This movie was irritating with it's inaccuracy and boring with it's lack of plot.

It started with the opening scene. It was very gritty, suspenseful and tense... until the guy with the cell phone showed up. "Put down the phone!" Really? I've never been military but even I knew at this point that man would have been instantly shot, as proved by the reviews I've read on here by military types.

And this continued throughout the movie. Time after time this three man bomb squad behaving as if they were the Justice League of America (except for the one time when the nut case on the crew went into Baghdad by himself. At night. For no particular reason, as it turned out.) By the time we got through the sniper scene I was seriously annoyed and just wanted the movie to end so I started fast forwarding in tiny increments.

What a complete waste of time. Why is the Hollywood hype machine pushing this so madly? Is it a longing to make sure James Cameron doesn't win again?

I'm glad I didn't pay to watch this.
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What the heck??? Best picture? Not even close!
Katie282175 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
As usual, I am making a mad dash to see the movies I haven't watched yet in anticipation of the Oscars. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie as it seemed to be right up my alley. I can not for the life of me understand why this movie has gotten the buzz it has. There is no story!! A group of guys meander around Iraq. One day they are here diffusing a bomb. Tomorrow they are tooling around the countryside, by themselves no less and start taking sniper fire. No wait here they are back in Bagdad. There is no cohesive story at all. The three main characters are so overly characterized that they are mere caricatures. By that I mean, we have the sweet kid who is afraid of dying. We have the hardened military man who is practical and just wants to get back safe. And then we have the daredevil cowboy who doesn't follow the rules but has a soft spot for the precocious little Iraqi boy trying to sell soldiers DVDs. What do you think is going to happen??? Well, do you think the cowboy soldier who doesn't follow rules is going to get the sweet kid injured with his renegade ways?? Why yes! Do you think the Iraqi kid that cowboy soldier has a soft spot for is going to get killed and make him go crazy? Why yes! There is no story here. The script is juvenile and predictable! The camera is shaken around a lot to make it look "artsy". And for all of you who think this is such a great war picture, go rent "Full Metal Jacket", "Deerhunter" or "Platoon". Don't waste time or money on this boring movie!
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Offensive, to put it mildly
lolatengo7 May 2010
I have to add my voice to the list of people who really disliked this movie. Imagine a German director making a movie in 1948. Imagine the director asking us to feel sympathy for the soldiers because it was very cold in Russia. (I'm not saying that the United States is a perfect analogy to Nazi Germany, because that would be a grotesque exaggeration.) I actually do have sympathy for all of those young Germans who lost their lives in WWII. But the rest of the world would be appalled to find that this was the take-home message from World War II for the Germans. Bigelow asks her viewers to feel this very emotion for Americans in Iraq.

If there were other scenes that provided a different take on the situation, the hot desert scene would be insignificant. But every Iraqi in the movie is used simply to show how sensitive an American is, or how afraid an American is, etc. The Iraqis are allowed no existence of their own, they are simply plot devices. Don't America's major critics see this?

Some have said that this movie isn't political. By this, they seem to mean that it doesn't criticize the war. This movie is in fact deeply political in that it completely objectifies the "enemy," and glorifies war as a potentially exciting escape from domesticity.
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Edvin Grabar25 March 2010
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal are already preparing a sequel about a young US corporal in Afghanistan. He also happens to be a highly-qualified surgeon and is roaming freely around Kabul, operating on wounded NATO soldiers. On a particularly difficult mission, he casually picks up a sniper rifle and shoots Osama Bin Laden from a distance of about 3000 yards. He is then finally promoted to sergeant, but is unable to decide between a sniper and surgeon career, so he quits from the Army altogether. One year later, frustrated with civilian life, he joins the Navy and the last scene shows him proudly wearing a white uniform.
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An engrossing film that takes one's breath away.
I B12 August 2010
Here we have one of the best films of the last decade. A war film that succeeds in showing what it's like to be in the armed forces nowadays. It was directed be the underrated Kathryn Bigelow. The focus is on American soldiers in the Iraq war. But it's not about them being involved in assaults or shootouts. Instead we're shown the lives of a bomb squad. Jeremy Renner is commanding as Sergeant First Class William James. He provides an excellent performance. So do Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty as his partners. They really do act like real soldiers. The Hurt Locker consists of a series of bomb threats that the team have to overcome. These are all thrilling, tense. What makes the film really shine, however, is its anti-war messages. In the tradition of Apocalypse Now (1979) and Come And See (1985) The Hurt Locker shows that people get hurt and killed in wars, even if they don't deserve it. It shows that the victims are just like anyone else except that they're in a war zone. The film doesn't directly criticize the American war effort. There are no discussions about whether the Iraq war is moral or immoral. Bigelow's direction is truly impressive. She certainly knows how to work with actors. The acting is obviously superb, and this is the film's greatest strength. Also notable is the cinematography by Barry Ackroyd. The war hasn't looked this realistic or this interesting in cinema until The Hurt Locker. The images captured are thoughtful and memorable. No wonder the film was the big winner at the 2010 Academy Awards. Some films that win Best Picture don't deserve it, but The Hurt Locker sure did deserve it. It's one of the best war films ever, and I highly recommend it.
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Did I watch the correct movie?
Adrian Mos7 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
After watching this movie, I actually had to check twice whether or not I saw the correct one. Either critics have suddenly forgotten everything that the movie industry has produced until now, OR there are other interests at stake. And considering who the director is (a woman - no offense to all), I suppose it's safe to assume that the second option is the correct one.

What I cannot understand is the public reaction. I'm used to people judging extremely poor movies as "fabulous", but this is a bit too much. The vast majority of people appeared to like the movie for qualities that simply weren't there. There is no suspense (unless, of course, by suspense you understand a guy casually disarming crude bombs in a manner so disconnected from everything else, that you feel as if he is literally taking a walk through the park), very little action (there are, admittedly, two or three moments in which one may think "Yeah, action time!", but they are overshadowed by the fact that less than 30 seconds later, one cannot but say "What? That was it?"), absolutely no character development (by the time I got to the sniper scene, I couldn't have cared less if the main characters had shifted to the English sniper crew) and so little realism (I mean, come on! One three-man crew perfectly disarming bombs, doing security sweeps, clearing buildings, blasting UODs, sniping and pursuit/recon, all this while seemingly not giving a damn about any form of supervision, orders or chain of command? Anyone who buys into that is either a mindless troglodyte or has been paid to buy into it) that it makes the movie a joke way past its laughing time.

Admittedly, the first 10 minutes (right up to the first bomb explosion) were good. I expected that if the movie went that way, it would be at least decent. It didn't. The new guy comes in to replace the dead guy, they disarm bombs, sit hours at a time in a sniper situation in the middle of the day in the middle of the damn desert with one (one!) pouch of juice for at least 4 other persons, without sending any man to check the status of their marks (which had been dead all that time, by the way), they disarm more bombs, they are then overcome with guilt (though it is impossible to understand why), and so on and so forth... And all this time we have a countdown... When the movie reaches the end, where the countdown is reset and we realize the movie is actually coming to an end, the only feeling any normal person can get is relief that it finally ended.

The shaky-cam idea was actually not that bad. Except for 2 scenes in which one can't distinguish anything due to the motion blur (but I didn't expect it to be flawless, anyway), it is quite enjoyable (it is one of the few things that kept me from throwing the movie in the trashcan). However, the acting is, in most parts, so visibly fake in a completely senseless way, that it is annoying.

I fail to see what people see in this movie... it is simply a BAD movie. And to compare it to war/conflict movies, even with the Rambo series (which has been awarded numerous razzies over the years) is an insult to cinematography and to the public.

If this is the best war movie that the cinema industry can offer, I'm not impressed. And shame on all "professional critics" who have sucked up to the obvious feminist statement of this movie's release.
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Like watching paint dry
jake-1794 April 2010
This movie won the Academy Award for "Best Picture of the Year?" Seriously? Are you kidding me? I think that tells a lot about the Academy Awards and how completely stupid, pointless, useless, and misleading they are.

Watching this movie was like watching paint dry, but thinking that at any moment the paint could explode. But then, when it does explode, you don't really care.

I have noticed that "action" movies that are directed by women are usually not great. When I started out watching this movie, I had high hopes for it because I had heard good things about it, and of course it won an Academy Award (for whatever that is worth). And I thought it would be interesting to finally see a good action movie directed by a woman (Kathryn Bigalow). But instead it was a total let down. Maybe Kathryn Bigalow should get a job making movies for the Lifetime Network, and stay the hell out of the action genre because "HURT LOCKER" sucked.

Watching "The Hurt Locker" made me feel like I was INSIDE a Hurt Locker! And all I wanted to do was get out of that locker and go do something else. Every time the movie built up any suspense or tension, Bigalow manages to slow down the pace and kill the scene. Also, there a lot of times when you think the movie is going to take a new direction, and really get into a decent subplot, but then it just simply goes NOWHERE.

Don't believe the hype on this movie. Stay out of the Hurt Locker, save yourself two hours of life. Somebody should put an explosive on this movie and blow it up. Funny, a movie about a bomb squad that is, itself, a total bomb. How ironic.
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A Perfectly Shattering Film Going Experience
agmancuso28 June 2009
Kathryn Bigelow concocts a masterpiece of a film without tricks or gimmicks, at least none to be detected and that in itself is a triumph. Realistic yet poetic like the works of the great masters. It enters and fits a genre and at the same time is unique, unexpected. It shutters, moves and alters every sense, like a powerful drug. I saw it last night and I'm going to see it again tonight. Last night Jeremy Remmer came to speak to the audience in a face to face moderated by Sam Rockwell, great idea but it change my perception of Remmer in the film, of his character. Although he praised Kathryn Bigelow, he said things like "I don't tell her how to direct and she doesn't tell me how to act" Watching the film I felt that childish arrogance belonged to the character by his personal appearance showed it belonged to the actor. In any case, it works on the screen. A character you warm up to almost immediately in spite of his contradictions. Remmer will remind you at times of Robert Redford and others of Michael J Pollard. He is truly terrific so try to avoid his personal appearances not to contaminate that impression. The rest of the cast works wonders and the brief cameos by Guy Pearce and Ralph Finnes are the most organic and unobtrusive cameos I've ever seen in my life. All in all extraordinary. I predict, even if we're only in June, that Kathryn Bigelow risks to be the first female director to win the Academy Award. She certainly got my vote.
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sas scene
nickwilliams201010 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I joined this site specifically to comment on the scene in this film which showed SAS soldiers acting like raw recruits when confronted by a sniper, whereas a US bomb detonation squad dealt with the situation as if they themselves were elite forces. How a movie containing a ridiculously conceived scene like this can win any Oscars is beyond me. Would a bomb detonation squad in the US have a sniper masquerading as a bomb disposal squad member? Also why do they take all day watching the insurgents hideout? Can you imagine this happening in World War 2 for example, the war would have been lost if the Allies had approached every battleground with this kind of nonsensical caution. There are many other questionable scenes in this film and I don't understand how anybody with a modicum of intelligence would vote for it to receive any sort of prestigious award.
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The work of a master filmmaker
krigler18 March 2009
The Hurt Locker is a serious character study and a taut, suspenseful action thriller at once.

The subject matter itself - the work of a bomb expert, possibly one of the most nerve-racking jobs on the planet - yields most of the suspense but Bigelow manages to squeeze out every bit of tension of the premise.

This film to me was very apolitical - though set in Iraq, it is distinguished from most of the Iraq-themed war films in that it concentrates much more on the job itself than the political environment. Iraq seemed more like a backdrop - any other war would do, The Hurt Locker does not preach about this one specifically.

The story is deeply emotional, depicting a thoroughly disturbed individual's life in hell. Jeremy Renner gives an incredibly powerful performance as an EOD officer completely hooked on adrenaline stemming from his everyday close shaves with death.

All aspects of film-making are top-notch, from the brilliantly subversive screenplay through vivid cinematography, masterful directing and perfectly paced editing.

In its storytelling the filmmakers wisely break with traditional Hollywood narrative techniques. There is no clear antagonist, no rising action, no obvious character development and no climax. And yet the film manages to be more interesting, tense and suspenseful than any Hollywood action thriller I've seen in years while making a powerful, yet subtle statement about the insane addiction that is war. Kudos for everyone involved for making this film without compromising.

This is pure quality, cinematic storytelling at its best, a thinking man's actioner.
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The Brilliant Explosion Of Kathryn Bigelow
carlostallman28 June 2009
I spent the entire film grabbing the arms of my seat. I was there in Irak, steps away from my death and the death of those around me. The tension, the suspense is at times breathtaking, literally. "The Hurt Locker" is a miracle and the definitive consecration of a great filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow. This is also a rare occasion in which I went to see the film without having read a single review or knowing anything about it. One should try to do that more often because the impact of the surprise translates into pure pleasure and in this case, sometimes, you have to look away from the unmitigated horror. Jeremy Renner is a real find. He is superb. A kind soul, wild man with enough arrogance to make him appear reckless and yet his humanity precedes him. People may commit the mistake of avoiding this gem thinking that it's just a war film. Don't. It isn't. It's a great, engrossing film about human emotions, not to be missed.
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hot garbage
jhajala29 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I just rented this today....heard lots of good reviews beforehand. WOW!! What a pile of steaming poo this movie is!! Does anyone know the address of the director so I can get my five dollars back???? Finally someone bumped "Stop-loss" from the 'Worst Iraq War Movie Ever' number one spot. To be fair, I don't think there are any good Iraq war movies anyway, but this was REALLY bad.

I won't get into any technical inaccuracies, there's a hundred reviews from other GWOT vets that detail them all. If the director bothered to consult even the lowliest E-nothing about technical accuracy however they could've made the movie somewhat realistic....maybe. I guess the writer should be given the "credit" for this waste of a film. He or she obviously hatched the plot for this movie from some vivid imagination not afflicted with the restraints of reality. Does anybody but me wonder what the point of this movie was? Was there a message? Seriously though.....WTF????

I'm pretty amazed at all the positive reviews really. This film is hard to watch as a vet because of all the glaring inaccuracies but even if one could overlook that, the plot sucks, characters are shallow (to say the least) and the acting is poor at best. It's ironic, I suppose, that this movie is supposed to be about Explosive Ordinance Disposal, because it's the biggest bomb I've seen this year.
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An excellent film
t_baker9 August 2009
Military and war movies are problematic for me, at least modern-era ones; I wasn't in World War II or Vietnam but the post-Desert Storm era Army is a very well known quantity for me, and military movies set in this period (to include those set in the current Iraq / Afghanistan wars) almost always get some nagging thing wrong. Lieutenants and Captains don't call Colonels by their first names, and no one would ever wear a class-B wool sweater into a jungle at night, just to name two examples I've actually seen on screen in recent years.

"The Hurt Locker" slips up a bit, too, but to my surprise, I was able to forgive those missteps almost completely, because the movie on the whole is the most compelling war movie in many years, and just a great movie, period: terrifically acted, brilliantly conceived and directed, a work of true cinematic art. Like the committed professionals that it portrays, "The Hurt Locker" as a movie shows what movies are capable of when knowledgeable, experienced professionals are on top of their game.

"Saving Private Ryan" is generally regarded as THE modern war classic, and just about any picture set in war is going to draw at least a peripheral comparison to Steven Spielberg's flawed masterpiece, thanks to the still-detonating power of that film's master-class opening sequence, which took filmed combat to levels of never-before-seen verisimilitude. "The Hurt Locker" doesn't have that level of intensity, because it works on a smaller scale: the majority of the action is between individuals, not battalions. But there are extended sequences in "The Hurt Locker" that rival "Ryan" for impact, tightening the screws more slowly, more claustrophobically, until you feel as though you've been holding your breath even when you haven't. There are at least three of these sequences in "The Hurt Locker," all done in their own pace without dragging, all expertly performed, all showing a face of war that we haven't seen on film before.

There are bit roles from recognizable actors like David Morse (brilliant in his few moments on screen), Guy Pearce, and Ralph Finnes, but the majority of the acting load is shouldered by lesser-knowns Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie; they're both excellent. In a just world, this movie would be earning four hundred million in the US, not "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." But while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has pulled plenty of "say what?" moment in the past ("Crash," really?!?), they still have a chance to do right by this film and quality cinema in general: Best Picture nomination, a Best Director nod for Kathryn Bigelow, Best Screenplay (of some sort; this is based on journalism by the writer, Mark Boal, which may qualify it as "adapted" work), and acting nominations for Renner and Mackie. Yes, it's that good.

It's still only August and there's a lot of film to come in the ramp-up months to awards season, so this may be a stretch. But any movie that's going to top "The Hurt Locker" as my favorite of 2009 certainly has its work cut out for it.

BONUS POINTS: Unlike so many lesser films ("Crash," again looking in your direction), "The Hurt Locker" feels no need to explain its title on screen. There's never a point (at least that I recall) in which a character earnestly says, "Man, we're really in the hurt locker now" or words to that effect. A small point, sure, but just another nod to the creativity and confidence of the filmmakers.
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The usual US propaganda
shanayneigh7 May 2010
Technically, there's nothing wrong with this movie. But nothing spectacular either, I might add.

I have no particular views on "The Hurt Locker" winning the Academy Award for Best Movie, considering that 2009 was a spectacularly dull movie going year (don't even get me started with Pocahontas-cum-Smurfs!)

This movie hides behind a thin veneer of "war is hell", but never for one second - like most American war movies - veer from the "support the troops" discourse (in fact, the people in the US armed forces are described as "superheroes" in the supplemental material on the DVD). Although war might be hell, we always are supposed to sympathize with those (supposedly) brave and gallant men and women who are fighting it, never portraying them in a negative way, or even delivering the slightest criticism towards the actions of US troops.

This, of course, is true of most movies claiming to be anti war. Those who dare step outside the propagandist "support the troops" framework and deal with the atrocities perpetrated by US soldiers are punished by being accused of treason (like Brian De Palma who did "Redacted", a fictionalized account about the Mahmudiyah killings, where an entire Iraqi family was murdered and a 14 year old girl gang raped and murdered by US troops) or punished economically (like Nick Broomfield's "Battle for Haditha", a movie about the massacre where 24 civilians where massacred in their homes by US troops, being shown in one single theater, raking in a whopping 10,000 dollars in its theatrical run).

Whenever someone from the US military is a bad guy in a movie, it's always some rogue element - never that the military in itself is bad and commits atrocities directed towards civilians on a regular basis. This criticism isn't limited to movies dealing with the Iraq war and subsequent occupation, but it's valid for just about any military conflict in which the US armed forces are engaged. And of course there are examples like "The Rock" where the military bad guys really turn out to be good at heart, fighting for their brethren who have been betrayed by the government (it's funny how movies are critical towards some nondescript behemoth "government", but are silent when it comes to the armed wing of the same).

In "The Hurt Locker" the US troops might as well have been wearing white hats, and all the cardboard cutout Iraqis black hats, because this movie is about as multidimensional as an old western when it comes to good guys and bad guys. In this movie Iraqis fulfill the same function as the Somalis in "Black Hawk Down" - a faceless crowd of bad guys ready to be gunned down in scores (except for one token character; most likely a result of liberal guilt).

In the DVD extras, Bigelow claims to want to "put the audience into the soldier's shoes". Her lack of interest in the plight of the Iraqis under occupation is blatantly obvious. In fact (if memory serves me right), all violence directed towards Iraqi civilians is perpetrated by other Iraqis. The US soldiers are just there to protect Iraqis. The movie is well in line with the talking points of the US regime (it doesn't matter if it's run by Republicans or Democrats - same sh*t, different suit).

This movie is just another example of a cowardly movie industry, resulting in a film which is anti war in name only. Always a good way of getting movie going liberals to ease their guilt.
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Probably the biggest disappointment ever...
Wolo wizard21 March 2010
I was eager to see this movie even before the Oscar's, but never found the time to do so until last night, when I saw it on Blu-ray. This movie has got to be the biggest disappointment ever! The plot is twisted, but not in a smart way, just in a pointless way. The characters are dull and shallow, as are the dialogs between them. The cinematography, while probably the most attractive feature of the film, is hardly groundbreaking or innovative in its intensity. The movie, supposedly so close to reality in Iraq, is riddled with factual errors and inconsistencies, which make it completely detached from the reality it purportedly portrays (please refer to goofs here on IMDb). All in all, I cannot fathom why anyone would nominate this for the Academy Awards, let alone actually award 6 of them. It's probably one of those instances when Hollywood attempts to be political, and the only reason the 'Hurt Locker' got any awards is because it is the first majorly distributed film portraying the "dark-sides" of the War in Iraq since Obama took office...Personally, I found Chicken Little more suspenseful..
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A Movie to See -- Not to Enjoy
gelman@attglobal.net26 July 2010
Except for the first few minutes of "Saving Private Ryan," no film I've ever seen comes closer than "The Hurt Locker" to portraying the randomness, senselessness, brutality and -- yes -- the excitement of battle. With the exception of Ralph Fiennes who makes a brief appearance early in the movie, there are no stars and few recognizable actors in this story about a small group of men whose mission is to defuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq. Frequently under surveillance, though not always certain whether it is by curious bystanders or enemies in civilian clothing, these men are at risk every moment they are in the field.

The principal character, Sgt. First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) is one of those who seem to get an adrenaline rush in the face of danger. His colleagues, Sgt. JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackle) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geaghty), see no glamor in their task. Sanborn is a workman-like soldier, trying to do his duty in as safe a manner as possible. Eldridge is in a near-constant state of panic, eager to be somewhere else, any place else. They are not presented as stereotypes, however, nor is anyone else in this absorbing movie. Everyone in the field knows he may die at any moment, and how they manage to hold up in the searing heat of Iraq in a war they aren't asked to understand may be the main point of this film, if indeed it has any point other than War is Hell and the Iraqi War is a particularly terrible slice of Hell.

Kathryn Bigelow deserves every award she won for "The Hurt Locker." It is completely unsentimentalized. There is no moral drawn, except what the viewer concludes based on the judgments he or she brought to the movie and the impact of the story on those judgments. Of its type, it is far and away the best war movie I've ever seen.
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A mind-blowing war drama, a must-see!
transporter149212 July 2009
For some of my friends this was just a solid action movie, nothing else. I watched it yesterday and for me it was much more than just action, this movie was a deeply affecting series of shots that make truly feel the war in Iraq and make you see the sacrifice that's going on out there.

There are a few things that everyone must notice while watching the movie. There is some superb acting present throughout the whole movie, especially by Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie and I wouldn't be surprised to see one or more Oscar nominations for acting. There are also some pretty extreme editing achievements, that even I, an amateur movie-lover, could see. Cinematography and some other technical achievements are stunning as well. As far as technical part of the film goes, this movie is more than successful, it is to be expected that there will be some technical Oscar nominations as well. Writing is simple but that's the way it is and all my congratulations go to Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow for creating such a powerful war-drama that sticks with you even long after watching this film.

I honestly hope that the Academy members won't forget abut this phenomenal movie achievement. I recommend everyone to watch this "tool" that allows us to see what the word WAR really means.

Best regards from Slovenia
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The Oscar judges were drunk?
barrysheene4 April 2010
I watched this movie in HD on Italian cable TV. My expectations were so hight! This movie has been judged better then the fantastic Avatar, so it had to be absolutely stunning. Minute after minute I was convinced that this could not be the 6 Oscar winner, I had to double check it. OK, the direction was not bad, but all the film was completely senseless, it looked to me as a classical American B-Movie. The plot looks incredible, you lose so many times the reasons of why something is happening. For example the taxi driver who does not stop: why? Even the story of the young boy selling DVD is not so clear to me.. This movie is miles back Black Hawk Down, a classical city guerrilla movie and is really impossible that beat Avatar if not that the judges of academy award were drunk.
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Worst best movie!
ririyaka-yaka27 March 2010
I went to see this movie simply to see what all the hype is about, and I was as disappointed as surprised about how it got 6(?) Oscars and 7.9 rating on IMDb as of today.

Kathryn Bigelow should be the luckiest director ever to win the best picture and best direction Oscar for this sort of a really really bad movie and I wonder why? Did the totally unrealistic 'cowboy' bomb disposal-man storyline mean anything to somebody that I failed see? Why did I keep getting the mental image that this movie was a remake of some old bad Western movie about a cowboy doing 'brave deeds' in the Wild Wild West infected with 'evil' Red Indians; but just that it was set in a different background this time? Was it given the Oscars because the director being ex of James Cameron, and made it a nice underdog (gossipy) story for day time TV shows to munch on? Or was it some sort of Emperor's Clothes syndrome - where most people realized it was junk but just couldn't say so because others didn't seem to be saying it out aloud?

And finally what was with that sniper scene where they showed the shell casing dropping in high-resolution-super-slow-mo as if to convey a 'deep message' or something? Something in the lines of 'EOD guys make good snipers all of a sudden and they will get the filthy terrorists all the time'? Was it just me who felt like there were so many bits and pieces here and there in the movie squeezed in for no apparent reason? And you can get the Oscars for editing and directing for that??

If you haven't seen this yet, don't waste your money on tickets. Wait till they run it on TV in a few years. You are not going to miss much.
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So THIS is supposed to be the movie that beaten Avatar?
the_wolf_imdb10 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have read a lot of criticism from soldiers. I'm not an solider but I have some knowledge of military tactics and some common sense too. The movie is "disconnected and detached" as some may say. It is more collection of action scenes than story that has real sense, there is very little psychology, some bizarre lines. But it is incredibly illogical. For example the "sniper scene": Insurgents are hidden in the house. You are on top of the ridge. This is bad spot of course and the first US guy gets killed. The other takes the same gun on the same place and STAYS here for hours. This is very bad decision of course! The ridge is on the east, the house is on the west. You stay on the ridge until the sunset - sun shines directly into you face which means you cannot see anything but the insurgents must see reflection of your scope lens very clearly. This is very strange. In another scene you see team of three pyrotechnics searching building which has only recently been abandoned by insurgents - very dangerous! In later scene these three guys try to find insurgents in the buildings during the night - they even SPLIT and try to find them INDEPENDENTLY. This is not only risky, this is just plain stupid. Stupid. I just don't believe that US soldiers are so dumb and so badly trained. The script is unbelievable, pure B to C grade! I have no idea how this crap won so many Oscars - is it because of its "anti war ideology"? I have been very disappointed by this movie.
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Are You Kidding?
jcox71310 April 2010
Oh. My. God. Please rent this so you can see why everyone with sense hates this movie (all except the Clique Elites of the Academy of course) Things I'd like to share off the top of my head: 1. The fact that this beat Inglorious Basterds for best picture simply astounds me. 2. Tarantino was completely shafted. 3. It was more like a "Made for TV" show than a major motion picture. 4. It won because of stupid left-wing politics...( it was about the Iraq war and it was a war movie directed by a woman. 5. It had constant non-steady cam filming (like a made- for-TV show). 7. A lot of the acting stunk 8. The plot was hollow and insipid. 9. Stupid. 10. Dumb. 11. Bad. 12. Not good. 13. Not realistic. 14. Shallow 15. Annoying. 16. Boring. 17. Weak. 18. Awful. 19. Boring. 20. Stoopid. Terrible. 21. poor. 22. Help me. 23. If I were Tarantino I'd release the Bear Jew on the Academy.
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