The Hurt Locker (2009) Review

director: Kathryn Bigelow

writer: Mark Boal

starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty

genre: Drama | War

It's weird how movie careers go, some from the get go get rich and famous and others just vanish and never get a second chance. Kathryn Bigelow career has had her up's and downs and finally shes made the best film in her career and until now the best film on the Iraq War. "The Hurt Locker" is a realistic take on the war in Iraq and is from start to finish apolitical. Focusing more on the human side to war and the soldiers on the front line, then the decisions made in the war rooms.


We follow 3 soldiers and their duties in Iraq. All 3 are apart of a special bomb squad unit, specialized in disarming IED's (Improvised Explosive Device). All 3 of soldiers face diffrent problems and handle the war experience in different ways. Sergeant James (Jeremy Renner) is reckless and a maverick, Sergeant Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is a boy scout and Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) is the psychologically frail but committed soldier. The 3 with their troubles and hopes try to survive the war and find out who they really are.


War films sometimes dwell into political areas, which for some are boring, or into action areas which for others make for annoying and not very sophisticated entertainment. Then there are those films were the focus is on the characters and story and you get something going where you haven't seen before in the same way.

War for a soldier is not how we see it from the TV and for them and in the specific case of the soldiers in Iraq, its a duty. Some enlisted for a job and lucked out when the war started, others for the pure joy and sadly few as a calling to arms. But, a soldier in a war-zone dosen't think about the politics, but about the job at hand. They shouldn't be criticized nor blamed. Blame is to be set elsewhere in the hearts of men who make the decisions who sent them there. We are just viewers of their struggle to survive day to day and with their brothers at arms.

Now whether "Hurt Locker" deserved its Oscars or not I've already covered in a previous article, but will repeat myself. "The Hurt Locker" was one of the best films of 2009 that indeed deserved the awards it got, even though I might have sided with "Inglourious" do to fanboy bias, but also because it was freaking great.

Where I might agree close to 100% with the Oscars, is in Bigelow's directing. The film was exceptionally well made and is a real tour de force directing job from Bigelow. Making maybe one of the best directing comebacks ever. After having numerous flops, she went back into the deep, in a untouched genre for herself, in one of the first Iraq films and with some of the most interestingly done experimental directing shots I have ever seen. Not recognizing the work shes done, would have been a shame.


Now with it's Oscar wins it will get more recognition from the masses and curiosity going for it. 'The Hurt Locker 'on the big screen will be a delight with many explosions, tense scenery and some the best directed scenes of the year. And please don't think of this as the American hero story, it is not that kind of film. Its a film about what it means to be a soldier and what it takes to return home from it.

Personal Rating:


review by Paul Katsaros

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