This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

The Hurt Locker

the-hurt-locker-posterQuickcard Review The Hurt Locker

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty Running Time: 2 hrs 11 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 10, 2009

PLOT: Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) becomes the new team leader for an Army bomb squad in Baghdad. With the deceptive Iraqi terrain as a gruelingly harsh backdrop, each mission could be their last as they must deal with working with each other and trying to make it out of there alive.

WHO'S IT FOR? Any one who loves war movies, and you'll need a strong stomach for this one. It's filled with tension and some harsh moments only war can bring.


Our first moment on screen looks like Johnny No. 5 from Short Ciruit is strolling down the road. That's the last time my mind was able to wander in this powerful, tense war film. James is the best of the best. Except he also doesn't like to work with a team. These are the engaging characteristics we've seen before, but The Hurt Locker makes it feel new.

It's 2004 in Baghdad and we're with the Bravo company. They only have 38 days left, and after a very powerful opening sequence were one man dies, this is a countdown you'll be hooked on. It's as close to Baghdad as many of us will ever get, but each time James puts on the heavy suit to check out some wires, we feel like we are there.

You may have the thought that each day seems too intense, like there is too much happening with the three-man squad of James, JT (Anthony MacKie) and Owen (Brian Geraghty). But it can easily be explained because these are just the most intense of the remaining 38 days.

Bigelow directs an amazing film that she gives the necessary time to. The perfect example of that is when the squad becomes accidental snipers. The scene just keeps going. Just like the exteneded scenes in Inglorious Basterds, the longer these moments are, the more intense they become.

All of the actors nail their roles, with Renner really coming out of nowhere to give such a gripping performance. There are great cameos to boot. Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and Evangeline Lilly all show up, not to steal the spotlight, but to add to it.

At first I thought we would just give the day-in, day-out missions of these soldiers, but there is a side tangent involving a young boy called Beckham (Christopher Sayegh) that felt a little out of place. I was also surprised (not disappointed) by the length. This movie really felt like it was heading down the path of an hour and a half, but it crossed the two hour mark.

The Hurt Locker is simple. The thought process of James is simple. When asked how he can do what he does, he says, "I just don't think about it." Now, whether that can fully be true doesn't matter. What matters is, we are given a glimpse into a life we can't fully understand, and yet we're right there in the action.


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