3. The Hurt Locker
Critics fell over themselves praising this dynamite film about the casualties of war. Audiences stayed hands off. Wake up, people. Kathryn Bigelow, in the directing tour de force of the year, uses a strong script by embedded journalist and RS contributor Mark Boal to take us deep into an elite U.S. bomb-disposal squad in Baghdad. Jeremy Renner excels as the unit leader, showing how war becomes a drug. A stunning film on every level.