Baghdad – smack in the middle of the war. Explosive ordnance disposal unit members are fighting to defuse bombs that could go off and injure their troops or innocent civilians.
Sergeant Matt Thompson, played oh-so-briefly by Guy Pearce, gets blown up. You didn’t see that coming did you?
Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) get a new team leader, Staff Sergeant James (Jeremy Renner) and instantly take a dislike to his reckless and maverick behaviour. James is a pure adrenaline junkie who likes to take out bombs up close and personal. To hell with the consequences, what’s the point in wearing a protective jacket? If the bomb goes off, it’s not going to make much of a different and James works better without the restrictions.
Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Near Dark) doesn’t make very many films, but when she does they’re usually very good. The Hurt Locker is gripping. It’s an intense portrayal of elite soldiers with one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs while in the heat of battle, surrounded by secondary explosions, suicide bombers and snipers. Based on the first-hand experiences of writer Mark Boal, who went on assignments with a specialist bomb disposal unit as research, The Hurt Locker is the real thing.
The acting is excellent, especially from Renner, and the direction and pacing is faultless. The action is very realistic, so much so that at times you could be forgiven for thinking that you were watching a documentary.
The Hurt Locker is almost terrifyingly realistic and it also has heart – portraying not just scenes of gripping bomb disposal tasks but also taking a deeper look at the psychology of the soldiers that undertake this most dangerous of professions.
It’s exciting at the same time as being thoughtful.
Watching this film on blu-ray also adds another dimension, well more than one really, both the picture and the sound are extraordinarily good.