Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie
Release Date: April 22 (in theaters everywhere)
With its rock’em sock’em directing and fast-paced editing, this year’s Oscar darling is really more of an action flick than a war film, even though it centers on an Army bomb squad unit in Iraq at the height of the insurgency. And it’s probably because of this approach that “The Hurt Locker” is the only Iraq War movie to date that will be worth looking back on in years to come when the conflict (hopefully) dwindles down. It keeps the preachy, ‘Bush lied, people died’ sentimentality to a minimum and instead focuses on the nerve-wracking, adrenaline-pumping job of its protagonists: disarming roadside bombs in the streets of Baghdad. There are some unfortunate diversions and implausibilities thrown in that cripple the film as a whole, but a lot of it is just a series of brilliant stand-alone scenes. Watching Sergeant James’ (played by Jeremy Renner) trying to defuse a bomb that’s been strapped to an Iraqi man for a suicide attack, for example, not only makes for riveting cinema, it gives the viewer an evocative image to chew over.