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Friday, December 4, 2009

THE HURT LOCKER

By D.E.Levine

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writers: Mark Boal
Producers: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro
Executive Producers: Tony Mark
Co-Producer: Donall McCusker
Associate Producer: Jenn Lee and Jack Schuster
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline James, Christian Camargo et al.
Original Music: Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Country of Origin:
Language: English
Genre: War, Action, Drama

While "The Hurt Locker" is mesmerizing to watch, the audience already knows the message that war is hell.

Although this is a drama film the drama isn't solely in the fact that it centers on an elite U.S. bomb squad centered in Bagdad.

The members of this squad survive by instinct as well as knowledge. It's not a thriller although there are thrilling moments in it.

They take reckless risks to get the job done when their robotics break down and suffer the loss of their Sargent, as a result.

When he's replaced by staff Sargent to take charge of the three-man unit, he proves to be as reckless, if not more so, than his predecessor. Immediately there's conflict between him and his deputy who is a strictly "do-it-by-the-book" kind of guy. The third member of the team is taking voluntary counseling from a Bravo Company psychiatrist who he accuses of not having field experience.

What is apparent from the start of the film is that unlike other war movies, this one concentrates on a small number of characters from the start. It's a tight film until about 45 minutes into it when it starts to develop other characters by focusing on the friendship between the staff Sargent and an English speaking Arab kid.

There is a feeling of ever-present menace although there is no commentary or questioning regarding the U.S. presence in Iraq. The men come across as real and believable. The camera work is halfway between documentary and regular drama and the there is continual tension giving the film a "real feel."

The film has proved popular after viewings but has had a problem gaining distribution. It's possible that it's so realistic viewers find it disturbing and very similar to the war broadcasts and videos being streamed into their homes.