Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. US. 2008. R. 131 min.
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“What’s most striking about Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” isn’t its action sequences — which are low-key to begin with — but its tense quietness: This is a war movie that rarely goes “boom,” a salient choice considering that its central character is an explosives expert. Then again, perhaps the true subject of Bigelow’s movie isn’t war but human stress.” “After a particularly tough day the movie’s three central characters, bomb-squad specialists, go back to base and commence drinking and roughhousing and wrestling, seeing who can take the hardest punch. This is how they shake off the day’s anxieties, pushing themselves past the point of exhaustion, and consciousness, so they can finally rest. They handle the emotional strain of their work not by breaking down but by getting tougher, a strategy that can only carry them so long. Yet “The Hurt Locker” isn’t about reaching the breaking point. It’s about the long, slow buildup to that potential breaking point, the reality that when you’ve experienced war firsthand, one of the things that comes home with you is the possibility of madness. Maybe that’s what makes the movie’s quietness so unsettling.” (Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com)
Continue reading Stephanie Zacharek’s review on Salon.com.
Read Scott Foundas’ review in the Village Voice.