The Hurt Locker(2008)
It’s review on Time magazine did me in.
“you needed to rinse off the grit after seeing it.” – were the precise words. Perhaps, more than the words, the curiosity behind the fact that a war film by directed by a woman was gathering acclaim –got my attention. And, an attractive woman at that.
It all begins with an American EOD team clearing a busy Baghdad market place of civilians who are reluctant to leave their businesses, even when what appeared to be 155mm artillery shells, lay piled together under a heap of market dirt ready to make their absence felt with a bang. When the robot carrying trigger charge fails to reach its destination, Sgt Matt Thompson dresses up for the last time to do his job. That of a bomb defusing expert. What happens next – is a detailed spine-chilling capture of what being close to the death radius (within 100 meters) of a bomb feels like. The rush of blood into the brain to run to safety. And, the all consuming sweep of the blast. Whoosh. Replacing him is Staff Sgt. William James(Jeremy Renner), who has as much disregard for military safety protocols as he has love for his job. Through various missions together, Elridge(Brian Geraghty) and Sanborn(Anthony Mackie) whose job is to provide rifle cover while James examines the IED, coalesce as a team and find a gem of a leader under his heavy coat of recklessness. At the end of it all, only one of the three makes it to another year in EOD.
Every scene of the movie is a frame of a hazy cat and mouse game for survival, as if the director had managed to capture the most intense part of their lives as the EOD team saw it and managed to string them together into a kind of “visceral visual poetry”. Only that this time, the poetry will live on for the soldiers who died in its making, and not for the political debates that such war movies fuel.