The Hurt Locker

Rated 4.0

Director Kathryn Bigelow delivers a different sort of action picture with this thriller about a bomb squad unit in Iraq that gets a new leader in Staff Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner), a man prone to taking big risks. Renner is riveting as somebody who defies all labels. He’s totally crazy at one moment, and totally levelheaded the next. Bigelow has put together a movie that is packed with tension; watching James diffuse bombs is major fuel for high blood pressure. Renner has been around for a while, but this is the performance that will put him on the map, and I expect he’ll be up for award consideration at year’s end. This is a harrowing picture, made all the more disturbing because it’s based in a war that is being waged right now.