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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Hurt Locker detonates explosive thrills

click to enlarge FIRE PITS: Jeremy Renner as Staff Sergeant William James
  • FIRE PITS: Jeremy Renner as Staff Sergeant William James

In his landmark poem “The Waste Land,” T.S. Eliot wrote, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” In her thrilling film The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow shows you fear in a pile of rubble or a beat-up old car. Location is everything in The Hurt Locker: On the streets of Baghdad in 2004, something as innocuous as a pile of trash could conceal an insurgent’s hidden explosive.

Screenwriter and journalist Mark Boal was embedded with members of the U.S. Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal squad in 2004, and The Hurt Locker’s fresh perspective and attention to terrifying detail give the film undeniable authority. There's never been a war movie quite like it. Bigelow crafts set pieces that draw the audience’s attention as taut as a tripwire, while the off-duty scenes suggest the job’s pressures can turn soldiers into ticking time bombs.

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(Image courtesy Summit Entertainment)

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