The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award with this powerful, visceral portrait of life on the frontline of conflict which also picked up the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Sound Editing.
Following a shocking – and stunningly filmed – opening sequence, in which a US bomb disposal expert (Guy Pearce) is killed in action, Jeremy Renner’s Sergeant First Class William James arrives to take his place. His cavalier attitude and reckless disregard for his own safety unnerves the two other members of his team (played by Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty), but they soon come to understand that in the madness of conflict, a little insanity isn’t such a bad thing.
Based on journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal’s experiences embedded with a US Army unit in Iraq, The Hurt Locker is a taut, knuckle-ride of a film. Stunningly shot by acclaimed British cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, who would subsequently work again with Bigelow and Boal on the controversial Zero Dark Thirty, the film captures both the physical and psychological toll of not only working on the front line of conflict, but in a role that teeters permanently on the cusp of death.
★★★★★ “A blazingly powerful action movie” - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian