The Hurt Locker (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner26/08/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 131 mins

Sharply written, superbly directed and extremely tense thriller with a terrific central performance from rising star Jeremy Renner.

What's it all about?
Director Kathryn Bigelow makes a welcome return to nerve-shredding thrillers with The Hurt Locker, based on a script by Mark Boal, a journalist who was attached to a bomb squad in postwar Iraq. Jeremy Renner stars as Will James, a fearless bomb disposal expert who seems to have learned the art from watching Lethal Weapon movies, much to the consternation of his counting-the-days colleagues Sandborne (Anthony Mackie) and Eldritch (Brian Geraghty).

Initially, James wins over Sandborne and Eldritch through his astonishing acts of bravery, but after just two weeks of James-induced stress, they are seriously considering “accidentally” killing him. Meanwhile, Eldritch receives therapy due to a traumatic incident in the film's opening scene, while Sandborne finds himself the centre of a terrifying sniper attack.

The Good
It's a genuine treat to have Kathryn Bigelow back in the director's chair – here's hoping she's at the beginning of a new-found productive streak. Needless to say, she orchestrates some terrifically tense bomb disposal scenes as well as a thoroughly gripping (and scary) sniper shoot-out sequence.

Most thrillers are lucky if they have even one genuine, nail-biting moment, but The Hurt Locker has one roughly every 20 minutes or so. Highlights include an extraordinarily tense sequence outside the UN building and a genuinely shocking opening scene, complete with WALL-E-alike disposo-bots.

The Great
Renner is utterly brilliant, ensuring that we really care about his character, even if he might actually have something of a dangerous death wish. There's also strong support from both Mackie and Geraghty as well as a series of inspired cameos from Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Lost's Evangeline Lilly.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Hurt Locker is a highly entertaining thriller with strong performances and great direction from Kathryn Bigelow. Recommended.

Film Trailer

The Hurt Locker (15)
The Hurt Locker has been reviewed by 2 users
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 21/10/2017 03:50

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films