The Hurt Locker

Rating – ***


The Hurt Locker is a frequently fascinating character study which unfolds throughout a series of nail biting suspense scenes.  We focus on Sgt William James’ reckless addiction to the quaint thrills which only bomb disposal on the streets of Baghdad can deliver. Played with charismatic bravado  by Jeremy Renner, he also shows the tragic consequences of such an unconventional life. He feels strangely familiar, almost reminiscent of a young Bill Murray, which can’t be a bad thing. With so many admirable ingredients, I’m frustrated to not have enjoyed the overall film as much as I expected.

There’s one big flaw, the aspects I just mentioned are the only thing keeping the film afloat. Where’s the story? I’m not saying all films should comply to the tired conventions they’d shove down your throat in film school, far from it. Yet the lack of any strong narrative elements guiding us through these otherwise gripping situations, leaves a huge smoldering impact crater. A shady conversation in one scene suggests a shocking potential twist, but it turns out to be merely a passing comment. It’s hard to dismiss The Hurt Locker, with so much to admire it’s clearly a decent film. It could and should have been great though.


~ by thewholebuffalo on September 4, 2009.

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