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Movie Review: The Hurt Locker

Alternate Title: Soldier of Misfortune

Story: This is one of the most compelling war movies I have ever seen. I cannot stop thinking about it. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal we meet three men from Delta Company who are on a 365 rotation in 2004, Iraq. Their unit has the daunting job of finding IEDs, defusing them or very carefully detonating them. The most remarkable thing about this adrenaline rush of a film is that their is no point of view about the war. No politics, no lectures, no right or wrong, no pontificating. It is about the day to day job of the soldier at war and it is exhausting. We get to see what they do, day after day - and I salute them all.

The three main characters are well developed, riveting and sympathetic. The conflicts and resolutions that we view in their daily lives are real. Specialist Eldridge is your boy next door soldier with real fears, depression and anger. Sgt. Sanborn is more mature and prefers to stick to the manual when it comes to protocol and procedure. Staff Sgt. William James is the heart and soul of this powerful film. He is the soldier that gets addicted to the rush of war. He is reckless, wild and does an amazing job of defusing the bombs.

Yes things blow up in this war movie, but it also has long sequences of quiet conflict that convey the monotony, fear and the nightmare of war. This is not a film for everyone but if you have the guts to see it - I assure you it will be a rewarding movie experience.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GxSDZc8etg

Acting: Jeremy Renner as Staff Sgt. William James is a star in the making. He owns the screen. He reminded me of a younger Daniel Craig. Anthony Mackie as Sgt. J. T. Sanborn was great as was Brian Geraghty as Specialist Owen Eldridge. Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce have interesting cameo appearances.

Trivia: Director Kathryn Bigelow is also a very talented painter and was one of James 'Titanic' Cameron's many wives. She spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in a vault, where she made art and waited to be criticized by people like Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Sontag. She later graduated from Columbia's Film School. She was also a member of the British avant-garde cultural group, Art and Language.

Predilection: None

Critters: Goats and two street cats. One cat is very scruffy looking and one has a limp.

Food: No time to eat.

Sex Spectrum: None

Opening Titles: We are immediately thrown into a tense defusing of a bomb situation. Titles are at the end.

Visual Art: It was filmed in Jordan. There is a lot of sand.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded and mostly filled with men who could have been soldiers in any of our wars.

Weather: Hot, hot, hot.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: There are a few very squirmy parts but watchable.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: I was not sure what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes. It was the winner of the 2008 Venice Film FestivalSIGNIS Grand Prize

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen would be my recommendation. For other Kathryn Bigelow films you can rent: K-19: The Widowmaker, Strange Days, Blue Steel and Point Break.

Length: Two hours and 10 minutes.