The Hurt Locker (2008)
IMDB Rating 7.6/10 131 min - Rated 15 War | Thriller
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Guy Pierce Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Sergeant Will James (Renner) is the new team leader of a US Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit in Iraq. Although his talent for diffusing bombs is of the highest order his new comrades are troubled by an apparently reckless style. The slew of recent attempts to interpret the Iraq and Afganistan conflicts on film have been notable mainly for their failures. Most have suffered from a combination of highly politicised moralising and generally underwhelming filmmaking, characteristics to which The Hurt Locker gives short shrift. Simple honesty, vibrancy and tension are the order of the day as we follow Sgt James and his two colleagues through the last weeks of their tour of duty. A typical job sees them enter into a known trap and attempt to diffuse an explosive device whilst insurgents take pot shots at them from the surrounding buildings. Such intense environments don't suit everyone and the strain is clearly demonstrated through the unit's varying reactions and coping mechanisms. Alongside James, the confident and professional Sgt Sanborn (Mackie) struggles to maintain his calm facade and the highly strung Specialist Eldridge (Geraghty) appears close to a complete nervous breakdown. Only James is equipped, designed even, to cope with life under such pressure, which is one of the film's more interesting points: how do you re-assimilate men who have become more at home crouching over explosives in an Iraqi marketplace than shopping for breakfast cereal in an American one.