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REVIEW: 'The Hurt Locker'

REVIEW: 'The Hurt Locker'

REVIEW: 'The Hurt Locker', Flicks.co.nz

4 stars


The 2010 Best Film Oscar winner. A war zone thriller following three members of a bomb disposal squad in Baghdad. Inspired by real events experienced by journalist and screenwriter Mark Boal. Opens today nationwide.

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It certainly didn't hurt The Hurt Locker that this war story had a war story of its own. Director Kathryn Bigelow fought on the cinematic frontline with her ex-husband James Cameron, whose Avatar lost to the Locker at the Oscars. Regardless, Bigelow's all-too-real account of life for an army bomb disposal unit in the Iraq war was deserving of the win, combining white- knuckle tension, sizzling dialogue and poignant insight into the lives of the bravest guys in Baghdad.

That Bigelow keeps the focus on the bomb squad's relentless duties means she never strays into emotive battle- fantasy territory, nor does she take political sides. But that doesn't mean this isn't brimming with intensity, and while there are plenty of explosions and moments of intense gunfire, there are also periods of eerie silence.

The workmanlike way these men carry out their life and death duties is awe-inspiring, the pressure not to make a mistake only exacerbated by the searing temperatures. A scene in which the bomb disposal unit let off steam like overgrown kids pumped with brawn and booze is just one of many that show these guys are only human. Especially with characters such as the fearless and frequently reckless Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner).

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