Watching “The Hurt Locker,” the technical mastery demonstrated by director Kathryn Bigelow is stunning. Bigelow’s films have always been well put together, but this one stands in a league of its own, compared to the rest of her filmography, and really most films that you see in theaters today.

 

(Related: Director Profile: Kathryn Bigelow)

 

Starring Jeremy Renner, the film follows an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team stationed in Iraq. Sergeant First Class William James is a talented veteran and the newest member of the team. His interactions with his fellow soldiers and the various missions the team must take on are the focus of the film.

 

The performances given by the whole cast, but especially Renner, are very impressive. Director Bigelow has an acute sense of how to work with her actors, as she pulls great work out of all of them.

 

Mark Boal’s script for the film is intelligent and evocative, featuring entertaining and credible dialogue along with a harrowing and engaging story. This was Boal’s first screenplay after spending years as an embedded journalist with the military. He deservingly won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and we can expect a long and successful career out of him as a writer of films in the years to come.

 

What is most successful, though, is the direction of Bigelow. Her years as a painter are evident in her incredible compositions and camera work. There is not a scene that does not work, and there are some that are as gut-wrenchingly intense as anything you are going to see on screen. “The Hurt Locker” is a totally immersive and totally satisfying piece of filmmaking, mostly because of the work done by Bigelow, for which she was given an Academy Award.

 

There have been some criticisms raised by veterans as to the inaccuracies present in the film, but to most those will go unnoticed. “The Hurt Locker” is a simply great war film with little wrong with it at all. An original and authentic cinematic experience, this is one you need to see.- 4/4

 

Have you seen “The Hurt Locker?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, and find me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.