182: The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 131 minutes
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

This movie has been getting a lot of buzz lately and I've already made up my mind that I wanted to check this out as soon as I could. If you haven't seen the trailer, I'd advise you to go check it out. To say this is one of the best war movies in quite a while is true, but I also think it's one of the best movies this year.

The movie doesn't come on slow, right from the beginning you're thrust into the action - the suspense and thrill of searching and diffusing bombs in the war-torn ghettos of Baghdad. And once you're done with that scene, you're thrust into more and more challenging and thrilling sequences of terror and awe. The scene that's depicted on the poster to the left would seem like the most threatening situation that these soldiers find themselves in, but it gets far worse for them.

And at the head of this bomb unit is Will James, a man who lives for the thrill and risk involved in his particular job overseas. Increasingly frustrating and charming throughout the movie, he keeps putting himself and subsequently his squad in dire straits. Jeremy Renner, whom I've been enjoying on the now-defunct TV show The Unusuals, plays this character so well - he's both compelling to watch and also so destructive with the lives that come in contact with him. He's driven by this rush and love for doing what he does and he eventually comes to realize how unstable he is. The movie opens with a quote from Chris Hedges: "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug."

And this movie is a drug: it's both fascinating and repelling; a tribute to the brave men and women fighting, voluntarily, for their country, but also a bit of a critique about this particular war - what it's doing to our soldiers psychologically. And it doesn't take political sides, either. Rather it focuses on the daily lives of this particular unit. All the characters are fully fleshed out and have complete transitions throughout the course of the movie. They're all played wonderfully and you'll be impressed by the small roles played by some big names: Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse. They are a good supporting cast that doesn't get in the way of the main characters or the scenes in which they're involved. Particularly the desert scene with Ralph Fiennes was simply intense and completely enthralling. You don't want to blink one second during the whole scene, much like the soldiers who had to keep an eye open during the skirmish all day to check for the snipers that were picking them off.

This is by far the best movie based on the Iraq war yet and I would also say the best movie this year. I was completely ready to be impressed, but the movie delivered above and beyond. It's near perfect and if this movie is playing near you, you need to check it out!

Rating: See It!

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