Anthony's Film Review
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Although there is no plot to follow, The Hurt Locker still illustrates the intensity of war...
The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is among the first Hollywood movies to center on the battlefields of the Iraq War that the United States launched in 2003. It's a movie that provides the audience with an up-close glimpse of American soldiers risking their lives during their tour of duty. But interesting enough, it's not primarily about soldiers who shoot and kill lethal targets. Rather, it focuses on a bomb-disarming squad, whose job is to prevent mass casualties from explosive devices. Of course, if they need to shoot and kill along the way, they'll do it.
The Hurt Locker doesn't spend too much time introducing characters. The only thing about the characters that the movie really mentions are their names and military ranks, the two most important of which are Sergeant First Class William James (played by Jeremy Renner) and Sergeant JT Sanborn (played by Anthony Mackie). Other than that, the movie goes right into the battlefield. While there is war action, the predominant film element is actually suspense. When the team is carefully taking steps to safely disarm a bomb, which is typically hidden somewhere like under rubble, there is fear that something will go horribly wrong, as there is no room for error.
Besides a lack of character development, there is also a lack of a plot. The Hurt Locker presents what is really a series of moments in a tour of duty. It's essentially a day in the life of an American bomb squad unit in Baghdad. For me, this lack of a story, along with the minimal character development, is a major reason for me to not praise it as highly as I had expected. I'm not saying The Hurt Locker is a bad movie. Sometimes a movie can be good just by presenting interesting camera shots.
And I will admit. I did enjoy seeing these soldiers do what they do. I liked how there is no soundtrack in the film, so that we could take in the sounds of the soldiers' work, like footsteps on the ground, the verbal communication among the soldiers, and occasional gunfire. One scene that is especially interesting involves the discovery of a bomb in rubble, soon followed by the uncovering of red wires connected to more bombs. The deliberate way this is presented is effective to say the least.
Nevertheless, I'm certainly going to be in the minority when I say that I think The Hurt Locker is just an OK movie. I probably would like it more if it had plot and character development. But again, the look and feel of the movie still work, and it does make us think about how risky and deadly a war zone could be. So I'll give The Hurt Locker some credit. It may not be a moving film with a political message or even one that explores the pros and cons of war. It's simply a portrait of the dangers of war itself.
For more information about The Hurt Locker, visit the Internet Movie Database.