Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written By Mark Boan
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
Elwood Says: 4.5 Beckhams out of 5
“Oh, no. They changed that about a week ago. ‘Victory’ sound better.”
By the time I finished this movie, I was shaking. I felt like I needed a cigarette or something to come down. This is a beautifully crafted and nail-biting film that portrays a EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit in Iraq towards the end of their tour of duty. The tension builds from the start, and never lets up. After losing the unit commander (played by Guy Pearce – one of many actors with glorified cameos in the film), SSgt. William James (Renner) arrives as his replacement.
This movie is gritty, and dirty, and makes you feel like you’re in the desert with the EOD unit. The explosions rattle the walls, the sunlight hits your eyes too bright, and the ambient noises (and outstanding use of the rear surround) had me looking behind me more than once. The cinematography is just gorgeous, and at times it feels and looks like a documentary, and the viewer is embedded.
This movie has a minimalist score, and the soundtrack is made up of noises you’d hear if you were really there. This only adds to the suspense, and there’s a sniper scene in the middle of the film that was so intense I was rocking back and forth waiting for what would come next.
You see just what kind of a toll this job can have on a person through the magnificent performances of Renner, Mackie, and Geraghty (Spc. Owen Eldridge). I was especially in awe of Eldridge because he was in a place he clearly didn’t belong or want to be. He was getting the Red Shirt Edit, and you just hang there waiting for that resolution through the whole film. Geraghty brings a blend of innocence and understanding to his character that I wasn’t expecting, and he deserves special mention for his wonderful realization of Spc. Eldridge.
Ralph Fiennes, Christian Camargo, Evangeline Lilly, and David Morse all make brief but memorable appearances. This really speaks to the drawing power of the movie and its director, because that’s a lot of star power and very little screen time.
This is a movie that will benefit from repeat viewings, and hopefully it will bring home some awards next Sunday. I have a feeling that “Hurt Locker” may lose Best Picture to a bunch of blue aliens, but director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal should both be locked in for Director, Screenplay, and I’ve got my fingers crossed now for Jeremy Renner taking home the gold for Best Actor.
(Click here for Johnny Slick’s take on the film.)