In anticipation of the Academy Awards next Sunday, The Hurt Locker has reappeared on my local repertory film screen. I didn't see the film during its original release last year, but the critics all raved about it since, so I decided to take in a matinee on Saturday. I'm glad that I did.
There's not much of a story. Three members of Bravo Company, responsible for defusing bombs in Iraq in 2004, have 39 days left in their deployment. In the opening scene, the senior bomb tech is killed, and is quickly replaced by a seasoned veteran, James, played by Jeremy Renner. (He's a great actor with a lot of sex appeal, too. He starred in the short-lived offbeat cop drama on ABC last year, The Unusuals.) James is a hothead and an adrenaline junkie who always puts up a macho front--and the work truly does exhilarate him--but it also tears him apart inside.
The film is great because it explores the emotional toll that the life-and-death combat duty takes on the three lead characters. It's intense, but definitely one of the best films of 2009.