The Hurt Locker

Rated 4.0

It’s only a movie about men at work in war. Yet it seems like a definitive war movie. Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty and Jeremy Renner portray three members of a U.S. Army bomb squad working the streets of Baghdad in the summer of 2004. Under such mercilessly suspenseful conditions, the soldiers behave both admirably and abhorrently; each actor’s performance is uniquely extraordinary. Screenwriter Mark Boal is also a meticulous, formerly bomb-squad-embedded journalist, and director Kathryn Bigelow, most famously the maker of Point Break, is a skilled marshal of intense masculinity and physical danger. Like many other action filmmakers, Bigelow prioritizes immediacy. But unlike many, she achieves a rigorous clarity of space and time. Part of what sets The Hurt Locker apart is its terrifying coherence. It seems like a dream and a documentary at the same time.