William James is called in to be the head of an elite bomb squad in Iraq that only has about 30 days left in their rotation; Eldridge and Sandborn, the other two officers in his unit just want to play it safe and go home but James has other plans. He is an adrenaline junkie who loves the challenge bombs present him and doesn’t believe in “safe”. James is more at home in war than civilian life and this creates a huge conflict amongst he and the other men as he abruptly forces them into his version of the Iraq war.
In my opinion female directors have taken a huge blow lately as two films that were potentially great for us in 2008 both blew - Twilight & Punisher War Zone. Both were franchise films with cult followings and if executed well could have brought female directors to a very prominent light; instead the films were lackluster representations of the great female talent that is out there. That is why I thank God for Kathryn Bigelow & The Hurt Locker.
The Hurt Locker is one of the best and most psychologically intense war films I’ve ever seen. Bigelow infuses each bomb sequence with a tension befitting of the activity at hand; the bomb becomes almost a character in the scene infused with an evil all its own and James’ own personal puzzle. She also manages to make each of the men their own distinct and fully developed character, complete with a motivation all their own – this is something not normally seen in action films, but including this makes the film something different entirely.
I don’t know if Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker will be remembered come Academy Award time, but she should be. I hope that the momentum The Hurt Locker has been creating will carry forward for Bigelow and the rest of us female directors out there.
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Staff Sgt. James: Jeremy Renner
Sgt. Sanborn: Anthony Mackie
Spec. Eldridge: Brian Geraghty
Contractor Leader: Ralph Fiennes
Col. Reed: David Morse
Connie James: Evangeline Lilly
Sgt. Thompson: Guy Pearce
Staff Sergeant James: There's enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I'm gonna die, I want to die comfortable.