“The Hurt Locker” (2009)

I thought everyone else would be watching the Super Bowl. But when I went to see The Hurt Locker at the Riverview, with a small tub of popcorn with real butter and a box of Junior Mints, there were plenty of other people in the theater with me. Alas, the normally stellar Riverview was having some trouble with the sound and the centering of the picture. The sound went buzzy, then unintelligible, just as the main character, played by Jeremy Renner, was introduced. They stopped, started, stopped and started the film again. The sound came back, but there was a chunk we missed. Ah, well, an excuse to see it again, which I’ll be glad to do.

The Hurt Locker is smart, gritty, and doesn’t hammer its themes home. It lets the viewer draw her own conclusions, and some of them are pretty shattering. Renner is excellent, as is the supporting cast, and there are a few cameos that had me saying, “Hey, it’s [so and so]!” Renner’s Will James is an Army detonation expert stationed in Iraq, and the tension that the director, Kathryn Bigelow, keeps up for the length of the film is impressive. Bigelow takes a tight, focused view on one soldier in a specific division, yet the work is probably one of the best on recent wartime; the themes are universal. Depressing, but real. And really, really good.

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