Tense and gritty war film from director Kathryn Bigelow, following the lives of an army bomb disposal squad in war-torn Iraq. Having to look death in the face daily, the soldiers of an elite ordnance disposal team struggle to accept their new sergeant, William James (Jeremy Renner), when he risks their lives with his reckless behavior. With the men trying to come to terms with their new leader, their patrols become increasingly hazardous, as a sudden escalation in the violence leads them to confront the most dangerous assignment of their tour. After winning six awards at the 2010 BAFTAs, the film went on to win another six at the Oscars, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
Rightly attracting major awards attention, The Hurt Locker
is a supreme, tense and gripping piece of drama. And it grabs your attention from the stunning opening scene, which perfectly gets across the dangers faced by the specialist bomb disposal squad that we spend the rest of the film following.
Chief among them is Jeremy Renner’s Sergeant William James, who is the focal point for much of The Hurt Locker. The film spends some time digging into his head and why he does what he does, and his approach doesn’t always leave him eye-to-eye with the rest of his squad. Renner, in surely a star-making performance, delivers a rounded, three-dimensional portrayal of a man you could easily write off as a maverick, and the film is significantly enriched as a result.
But then with director Kathryn Bigelow behind the camera delivering her best film to date, The Hurt Locker excels still further. Her gritty, haunting visuals look superb in high definition too, evoking the down-to-earth shooting style Bigelow employs, and making the most of the assorted set-pieces she puts on film. It’s the sound that really gets you too, cleverly eating up the full breadth of a good surround-sound set-up, and carefully teasing you more and more into the film.
Not that you’re likely to need much persuading. The Hurt Locker is a terrific war movie, and a very human one. It’s also packaged on a quality Blu-ray that matches up strong presentation with interesting extra feature. It comes very highly recommended. --Jon Foster