More than a handful of films have been made about United States of America, their war on terror, their subsequent assault on Iraq, and all that. But none has been successful in really putting you in the shoes of those in the frontline until The Hurt Locker came along. [firstpara]
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker zooms in on an American bomb-disposal unit comprised of Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), Sergeant Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) as they go about with their lives in Iraq.
Sergeant William James possesses a gung-ho attitude, and approaches his tasks as if they were simple household chores, which they aren’t. The other two members aren’t too happy with their leader’s ways though, as one wrong move could trigger of the end of them all. Over time, they eventually learn to respect and admire their sergeant, as they soon are able to understand and sympathize with their leader’s method of channeling gut-wrenching fear into some sense of wild bravado.
Unlike most films based on the US-Iraq war, The Hurt Locker moves away from political commentary. It doesn't dissect the intricacies surrounding the nature of the war. Instead, it invites us to put on the boots of those closest to the realest of dangers, which also are the farthest from those pulling the strings from up above. For this film, the big picture isn’t important because when you’re out here, it’s simply a game of trying to avoid getting blown to smithereens or being sniped in the head. And it’s an exhilarating game, as Sergeant William James would lead you to believe. It’s an adrenaline rush, that develops into a full blown addiction for danger and debonair.
Given that majority of the film are composed of gritty, hand-held shots, the adrenaline rush that the characters feel easily flow into the audience. The camera work exquisitely pulls you in into the world of these soldiers, and immediately, you feel their heartbeats racing as this game of survival eventually climaxes. The action in The Hurt Locker is definitely right up there with the likes of Transformers, but unlike that giant robot blockbuster, this war film’s intensity is much more rooted in real, human emotions.