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The Hurt Locker More at IMDbPro »

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35 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Bad title, great film.

Author: ptb-8 from Australia
27 October 2009

Well, here's my vote for what might turn out to be the best war or war related film so far this century. If you seek an Afhganistan experience that humanizes the 'war effort' and its suburban impact there and here, THE HURT LOCKER is it. Jeremy Renner is a strange new-ish actor, I have never seen him before but felt as though I had. He reminds me of Daniel Craig. Or maybe Craig's younger brother. I see today that Renner in in the running to play Max Rockatansky in MAD MAX 4 FURY ROAD. He is not suited for that but his suitability for the role of bomb defuse expert in THE HURT LOCKER is truly terrific. Strong guest appearances from Guy Pearce and Ralph Feinnes helped raise the budget cash and the international sales, I am sure even their roles are tiny but effective. Renner though is spectacular. I am not impressed with Kathryn Bigelow's previous directorial efforts but she has presented here with this film a redeeming result. Much of the hand held camera-work mars the quality and interest in the film, some of it downright irritating. However for a 2 hour war related film about the seductiveness of the adventure of war and its impact on one man with a family back home, THE HURT LOCKER is a great film. the scene in the supermarket with him searching for breakfast cereal is majestic emotional understatement. The title is terrible and will have put potential ticket-buyers off. So take my advice, and go, and then settle in for an experience in tension and emotion and humanity.

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41 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

The Badest Ass War Film Of This Millennium

Author: chicagopoetry from United States
10 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

All I can say is that I hope to Christ this is the pilot for a cable drama because I would watch it week after week, religiously. This has to be the smartest, most engaging action film I've seen, jeez, I don't know, add in all the suspense and the lunacy and, well, maybe since Saving Private Ryan.

Mostly The Hurt Locker centers around the main character, a Lethal Weapon type bomb expert stationed in Iraq after a tour in Afghanistan during which he disabled over 800 road side bombs. He marches on in nearly suicidally and takes on every variation of explosive imaginable. This is a cinematic gem; you won't want it to end. When it ends, you'll be all like, man, it's over, now what.

Fantastic movie making. Entertainment, pure entertainment.

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48 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

Generation Kill is better

Author: darkspringxl from United Kingdom
8 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whilst not a bad film, I was severely disappointed with The Hurt Locker. In the UK, Empire magazine rated this a 5 Star movie, normally a sign of a quality product. But for once I feel mislead. Having watched and thoroughly enjoyed the television mini series Generation Kill, I felt that no new ground was being broken in this film. I'd expected it to be more tense, to be more visually arresting but I found myself completely uninvolved in the story, even when you're being thrown the red herring about the death of Beckham. Maybe that says more about me than the movie, but with the exception of Jeremy Renner I can find nothing to recommend this movie.

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29 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

pounded into the carpet...

Author: the_weedy_seadragon from usa
18 August 2009

caught the first matinée of : the hurt locker

as a maker, an artist, a writer, a poet, a musician

the easiest part is starting : the hard part is carrying the work : rare as hens teeth is ending it... right

the hurt locker was as good as it gets : everything top to bottom

script : production : direction : camera : actors : editing

everything was dialed in and... perfect

except for the **cking ending : damn it...

it was in the directors hands : like all people who do not know where the ending is : she went to far

it was wrapped with a nice satin ribbon and Hollywood bow tie : *hit

the end is the 4rd scene from the end : grocery shopping

camera pans down the cereal isle one way : pans the other : cut to black : end of film

see : i called it a film, not a movie : but, it got movie-ized

the superb lines from the 3rd to last scene:

sergeant james talking to his baby boy (paraphrased) "As you get older, the things you love fall away. Maybe there's just 2 left, for me, it's one."

those lines don't have to be lost and shouldn't

move those lines earlier : stage a mano e mano scene between Sargent James and Spec JT Sandborn

THEN, later, the 4th scene before the end when JT says "Nobody cares about me. I want a son."

the power of that moment would go off the charts

plus, you'd have your superior: robotic : over-saturated : vacant : empty : material world moment in the grocery isle

cut to black : end of film

a 10 rating

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33 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

No Climatic Scenes, No Big Plots, But Compelling Viewing

Author: Jim Cherry ( from United States
25 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's no story, no heroic plot to Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker. There's no search for prisoners, no tracking of a villain, no hostages to rescue, no hill to liberate, or town to capture, or even a search for looted gold. There's not even an overarching allegory of life or war built into the theme of the movie. Despite this lack of war movie plots The Hurt Locker is still compelling with the only goal of the characters, is to stay alive.

The Hurt Locker follows the lives of a team of EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit members, Sergeant First Class Will James (Jeremy Renner), Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Gerahty) as they finish the last five weeks of their deployment in Iraq. Their job in Iraq is to defuse IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) and after their first Sergeant (Guy Pearce) is killed Staff Sergeant William James is assigned to the unit. Sanborn and Eldridge discover that James takes more risks in the field than their previous Sergeant and is addicted to the adrenaline surge of war which is putting them at risk. They find themselves in the position of finding out if they can live (literally) with James' approach to the job.

Kathryn Bigelow's direction isn't heavy handed and neither does she use a heavy hand in imparting themes or other usual theatrical devices. The Hurt Locker is a very naturalistic representation of the Iraq war zone. While it touches on aspects of war that other movies have, such as the surreal aspect of war that Apocalypse Now illustrates or the dual nature of war that's found in Platoon, she lets them exist as a natural part of the world the characters find themselves in. This low key, naturalistic approach is also evident in the actor's portrayal of their characters. There's no big emotional blow ups between them, no huge revelations of a characters' back stories to pull on your heartstrings. The film highlights just what occurs naturally from the job they're there to do. The movie also doesn't take a political stance on the war. It's neither anti-war nor pro-war. It puts the viewer in the situation with the characters and you're free to feel or have whatever reaction the events stimulate in you. Bigelow even sparingly uses a soundtrack. It's more of a tense buzzing that keeps us feeling a little uneasy, as must soldiers in the field feel.

The Hurt Locker was written by Mark Boal who had been an embedded reporter with an OED unit in Iraq in 2004. While the story is fictionalized, many of the events shown were based on actual events Boal either witnessed or heard about from soldiers in the field.

Bonus Features: The Hurt Locker DVD has a small bonus feature section that includes an audio commentary that I found a bit lackluster, but I thought was more than compensated for with an image gallery section that includes a Q and A session from the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. And there is a behind the scenes documentary that I found myself wishing there was more of.

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36 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Quite possibly the best war film ever....but without a doubt one of the three best war films ever

Author: Jackpollins from United States
19 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Now a days it seems very hard to make a tense and smart action-thriller. I am here to declare that The Hurt Locker manages to do that and more. The story is fresh, and the action builds up so tensely you forget you're watching a movie. The story is so involving that you forget the movie is two hours and ten minutes because you're sucked in so much. The story is about a group of army men, who upon having their last bomb disarmer killed in a bomb accident, hires a new one. The one they hire is named William James (Jeremy Renner, turning in a fantastic performance.) He does things his own way, much to the dislike of the leader, JT Sanborn. It starts to become intense being in the moment not knowing if William is making the right decision, or if JT is making the right decision. The fact that a lot of these bombs are seemingly impossible to disarm makes you on the edge of your seat. This movie has as much, if not more authentic thrills and chills as any horror movie, thriller, or action film of at least the past 15 years. This is by far my favorite film of the year so far, and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you do not go see it as fast as you can.

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38 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

Rivals "Avatar" as THE best film of 2009!

Author: Metal Angel Ehrler from Honduras
11 January 2010

"War is a drug," declares the caption on the opening scene of Kathryn Bigelow's masterpiece "The Hurt Locker", and this phrase (written by an American soldier in Iraq corresponding with the New York Times), in its four-word simplicity, summarizes perfectly and shockingly the premise behind this astounding film. Bigelow has gone beyond her trademark film "Near End", and has given us an even deeper and infinitely more intelligent film. Simply stated, "The Hurt Locker" is THE film about the Iraq war we've all been waiting for.

The film follows Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner, in a possible Academy Award-winning performance) who specializes in defusing bombs as he completes his mission period in Iraq, walking alongside his two specialist companions (Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) in a hostile land where everyone is an enemy and where everything might be a bomb. Unlike his fellow teammates who go about their dangerous jobs with caution and with a terrifying proximity to death, James pursues his missions with such excitement; with such charisma and with such longing that we begin to understand how the soldier who said "war is a drug" was right. James craves the excitement and the sense of self-importance defusing bombs gives him, and he's THE best at doing it. He's untroubled by the danger; on the contrary, that's what makes his job all the more likable. But even though at first he seems like your typical savage-boy war hero, little by little he begins unveiling a deep and shockingly poignant personality, which he doesn't express through words but through his actions and facial expressions. This is a tough guy who's battling demons within himself and who's torn between life and excitement. This is a character unlike any you've ever seen before.

The film paints a painful, eye-opening and crude portrait of the war on Iraq. We see children used as body bombs, honest civilians used as suicide bombers, we see people gather around the place where James is trying to defuse a bomb against the clock, the faces of women and children expectant and entertained by the violence. We see a country torn by war to its very core; we see simply humans trying to survive with no hope whatsoever and no dreams to uphold. The action sequences are driven by an unbearable tension which makes you gasp in pain; this is definitely THE most suspenseful and tense film of the year. Bigelow has demonstrated in past films that she's an expert at creating tension by submerging her characters in difficult situations and stressing their sanity; with this new film, she turns this on to a sky-high level, not only putting the characters' sanity at stake but wrecking the audience's nerves. The film is violent, but not so much as other war films, and the horror and suspense is gathered from the drama unfolding between the characters. From the first sequence to the last, we find ourselves riveted to our seats, not able to believe our eyes.

The cinematography is excellent, it's fast and cuts to different scenes madly, taking in the entire environment and every single character on screen giving us a million different points of view and a sense of knowledge of the surroundings. The editing is savagely effective, and never does a scene linger too much or switches too fast- it's always precisely in tune with the emotions and the drama. The score is a cacophony of war sounds which heightens the tension even more and, like I said before, there will be moments when you'll believe you'll die from holding your breath so long. Add a pitch-perfect story written by Mark Boal (who also wrote "In the Valley of Ellah", another movie based on the Iraq war), and you've got yourself the best picture of the year! The film really has no flaws, and at two hours long it doesn't have a single uninvolving second. Bigelow has taken a intelligent and effective war story, added art and controversy, mixed in exorbitant levels of suspense and therefore created a true masterpiece which will be remembered among the best war films ever made. See it if you know what's good for you! Rating: 4 stars out of 4!!

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39 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Worth every Oscar

Author: ajping from Singapore
24 June 2010

This was clearly one of the best films of 2009. There is simply no dead time in the movie. I don't mean to say that every moment is action packed, but rather that every moment helps move the story along or develop the characters. There are some moments of outstanding direction, such as when desert flies land on the lead while he is trying to hold still and maintain discipline during an exchange of sniper fire. Another stand-out scene is the direction when the team enters a recently abandoned bomb factory. Perhaps most importantly, the film creates the impression that anything could happen, and this is largely done by the choices made during direction, which heighten the feeling of volatility surrounding the nature of the team's assignments.

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41 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

War Is Painful And This One Hurts You In The Heart..!

Author: Girish Gowda from BengaLuru, Karnataka
19 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug." The Hurt Locker is about the soldiers involved in the Iraq war. Thompson is a bomb disposal expert and he gets killed during a mission to dispose a bomb. Then Sergeant First Class William Jones takes over Thompson's job and he becomes the team leader of the EOD unit. He has Sergeant JT Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge in his team. Will is kind of a free spirit who doesn't give a damn about his life, this is what Sanborn thinks about him and is weary of Will. Owen is a newbie and he is very scared for his life every moment of everyday that he is out there outside his camp, he doesn't want to die. But theoretically, everything out there could be a bomb meant for them to die and they have to survive. 'War is really hell on earth' is what these young soldiers will learn on their journey.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, this film is a very great character study of the soldiers in Iraq rather than just another mediocre war movie. This made me feel sad both for the USA soldiers, the children struck in Iraq and also some good Iraq people. They are just stuck in somebody's war and live in fear most of the time. The film has many moments and dialogues which bring a smile on the face, but beneath it all you can still feel the gloom the war brings. Will knows that he lives for the adrenaline rush that only a war can bring. Without it, in the real world back in America with his family, he feels like a nobody and he wants that rush of adrenaline. Sanborn and Owen are very angry over Will's 'devil may care' attitude because he is also putting their lives in danger. There is a scene with snipers in the hot desert and it is very heart breaking to see them suffer. Also the scene in the shower is very good. William, even though he has a lethal addiction to war, is a very sympathizable character. The little Iraqi boy, Beckham, I liked him a lot. When he becomes a human bomb, I cried for him, the pain in Will seeing him dead like that overpowered me and I just couldn't stop myself. I have seen loads of deaths of kids and people in movies, but never have I been this affected by a war film. I cared so much for the characters. The movie gives an insight into the everyday life in Iraq and its very agonizing to see what they do. All of them have just over a month to survive in Iraq, before they can come back to America and new recruits are brought over for one more year so that the whole cycle repeats itself.

William Jones, Sanborn & Owen Eldridge give very good performances in the film. And how could I forget one of my favourite actress Evangeline Lilly (Lost, the TV series) who plays Connie James, wife of William James. She gives a highly believable performance as the hurting wife of Will. She just wants him to stay with the family, while he thirsts for war. This isn't like all those other war movies which just wants us to say "look at those soldiers suffering, I want to help." This is an intense film and is made with a lot of passion. You will have to decide for yourself, what moves you in this film.

I went to see Clash Of The Titans and couldn't get tickets, so I went for this and am I glad I did. I think it deserved all those 6 Oscars that it got. I didn't know before this that no woman director had won, how sad, but I am very happy she won. But, this a film which will be always remembered as the film which resulted in the first Oscar for a woman director. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is a winner all the way. Go and see it if you still haven't seen it. The dialogues, camera-work, setting and everything is made to perfection.

P.S: I can't believe how hot Kathryn Bigelow is:) Me & my mom thought she was only 34-38 when we first saw her in the BAFTA Awards on TV and we wondered why James and her separated. Also she is thrice my age and I have the hots for her!! Why James Cameron would divorce her, I don't know. Don't you agree?


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73 out of 129 people found the following review useful:

2008 Movie That Made It In The 2009 Oscars?

Author: boysailor from Philippines
7 March 2010

I love watching movies and I know when a movie sucks or not. The camera work in this movie seems amateurish, it's wobbly most of the time. The dialog delivery it seems is being read directly from the script. I thought this is a war movie, but not really. While watching it on the first five minutes of the movie, I could swear this was meant as a TV movie. For a movie fanatic like me, I never made it past the first thirty minutes of this movie, it's that boring. The only big deal I can see on this movie is, the director is James Cameron's Ex. Seeing this movie winning a lot of categories proves that, Politics also lurks in the Oscars. Let's get an honest opinion, did you guys really liked this movie?

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