The Hurt Locker: Shell Shocker

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It’s not too often that I review a celebrated film that Dan Sileo knows basically nothing about. I mean he may criticize my movie taste from time to time but there are some he has definitely missed out on. “The Hurt Locker” is another Oscar winning film that was highly recommended to me by others. And much like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the movie lived up to they hype. Plus if you have Hawkeye and Falcon from the Marvel films, can you really go wrong?

Even beforehand, the plot always intrigued me, as the whole concept behind a bomb squad is very nerve-wracking. To think these people go up to the most dangerous situations, remain calm and save many lives is beyond courageous. I can’t even image the pressure and intensity that these soldiers go through in their daily lives.

Set during the Iraq War, we follow this bomb squad as they go through their normal days of disarming bombs. After one of their own dies, Staff Sergeant William James joins their team where he definitely differs from both Sergeant JT Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge. While they try to play it by the book, James shows no fear as he disarms bomb after bomb. Even when Sanborn tries to give him an order, Will just blocks him out as he gets the job done.

While the situations themselves are interesting, what makes this film so powerful is when things don’t go as planned and soldiers die. There is nothing scarier then seeing someone right near a bomb and having no idea what’s about to happen. The explosions themselves are done exceedingly well and appear very realistic. Several characters die in battle throughout the film so be ready for some tough moments.

But what pushes this movie over the top is the growth of each of the main characters. You see Eldridge constantly dealing with the fallout of past soldiers’ deaths and his inability to accept what happened before he becomes very angry as well as vengeful at the end. Sanborn, on the other hand, always seems to be in control yet cracks in the end as all the weight of his time in Iraq falls squarely on his shoulders.

When it comes down to it, Jeremy Renner steals the show as Williams James. Yes it might seem stereotypical to have that carefree character in overly stressful situations but he doesn’t keep it up throughout. Instead we start to see him lose control and even go rogue at points when his personal relationships become too much. While some may have issues with his ending, it greatly illustrates the character of James.

Much like I anticipated, “The Hurt Locker” earned all of the acclaim it received as few movies can find such a tension-filled plot yet masterfully add in the kind of character depth that makes it more than just a war movie. You couple that with some great as well as realistic effects and you’re reminded of just how stressful the Iraq War was. Sileo can give me all the crap he wants but this film just got added to the list of movies he needs to see.

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