James Milstead’s review published on Letterboxd:
THE HURT LOCKER (15)
D: Kathryn Bigelow
Lions Gate/Voltage/First Light (Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier & Greg Shapiro)
US 2008 (released 2009)
W: Mark Boal
DP: Barry Ackroyd
Ed: Bob Murawski & Chris Innis
Mus: Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders
PD: Karl Júliusson
Cos: George Little
Jeremy Renner (Sgt. First Class William James), Anthony Mackie (Sgt. JT Sanborn), Brian Geraghty (Specialist Owen Eldridge), Christian Camargo (Col. John Cambridge), Evangeline Lilly (Connie James), Ralph Fiennes (Contractor Team Leader), David Morse (Colonel Reed), Guy Pearce (Staff Sgt. Matt Thompson)
Dramatic, gripping, harrowing and realistic. There's plenty of superlatives which could be bestowed upon this Gulf War thriller but it can easily be summed up in one sentence: a filmmaking masterclass in tension.
A small group of bomb disposal experts are on their tour of duty in wartorn Iraq, the leader of whom has a penchant for being reckless, but is nevertheless outstanding at his job, but he's failing to win the trust of his small team.
It's refreshing to watch a war movie where a characters gung-ho approach is justified and he faces obstacles from his own men with his attitude towards the task at hand, the script avoids cliched dialogue and unrealistic scenarios, taking a documentary style approach to the conflict. Even the Iraqi people are portrayed realistically, with as many tolerant, peaceful people as there are militant rebels and crazed bombers.
Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty breathe life and bring soul to the believable characters, whilst the documentary style photography and editing drag you into the action and fractious atmosphere.
Winner of the Best Picture Oscar for 2009 and also winning Kathryn Bigelow the Best Director Oscar, the first female to receive the accolade and one which was incredibly well deserved.