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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker

Yesterday I saw the much-heralded The Hurt Locker, and I was not disappointed. It's a tense, edge-of-your-seat, thought-provoking war movie.

A lot of what I liked about it are the things it didn't do, that war movies are prone to do. It didn't give a huge cast of characters, confusing the audience. Instead, it focused (mainly) on the 3-member bomb squad and their interactions. It didn't have a lot of shots of people on the home front reading letters and getting phone calls. In fact, it's not until halfway through the movie that we know anything of the backgrounds of the characters. The one extended segment in the U.S. was powerful precisely because the points weren't belabored earlier in the movie. It doesn't make cheap political points, on either side of the coin. I would argue that showing the reality of war inevitably makes a political point, but it doesn't hit the viewer over the head.

There are great performances in this movie by the two leads, Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. The cinematography is great, and the movie is seriously suspenseful and engaging. One minor caveat I had is that I didn't really like the ending. It actually could have ended in about two different spots before the last scene and been a better movie. But that's a small criticism for a great movie. Expect to see it on many end of the year top 10 lists, and probably on Oscar's 10-deep Best Picture roster.

Grade: A-

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