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The Hurt Locker 

Early Discharge

click to enlarge © SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT 2009
  • © Summit Entertainment 2009

Kathryn Bigelow's war film, about a U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team winding down its detail in Iraq, wastes no time revealing the intentions of its scope. The white-knuckle opening sequence is not political, but intensely personal. The three-man team has encountered a problem with its Wall-E-like "bot," and one must don a protective suit and trudge slowly into the impact zone. In these recurring, claustrophobic scenes, the barren landscapes, close-mic'd breathing and momentary danger make The Hurt Locker feel something like space horror. But the script by Mark Boal, a freelance journalist embedded with an EOD unit, doesn't lose its footing until the aberrant, sentimental end, and Bigelow's pacing allows the most tense moments to bloom between the blasts. The most absorbing passage also is the most protracted: a mid-picture, hold-your-breath gunfight that practically unfolds in Bullet Time, in which the two antagonists are removed by almost half a mile. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

The Hurt Locker

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes

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