Here's the Iraq War movie for those who don't like Iraq War movies. The Hurt Locker doesn't preach. Director Kathryn Bigelow, working from a strong script by embedded journalist Mark Boal, gets right down to business. She takes us deep into an elite U.S. bomb-disposal squad in Baghdad. The dazzling virtuosity of her ticking-bomb thriller includes staying alert to what's ticking inside the men. At the start, soldiers J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) watch in horror as their sarge (Guy Pearce) suits up to defuse a bomb that goes off in his face. Enter Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner) as the new head of the unit. Sanborn thinks James is all kinds of reckless, and Renner and Mackie are outstanding at detailing the conflict. Bigelow builds a combustible drama that shakes you in ways you don't see coming.
From The Archives Issue 352: September 17, 1981