Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is the best movie to come out of the war in Iraq so far. In fact, it’s the finest American war film of the past decade.
Bigelow (whose first movie was the vampire thriller Near Dark) and screenwriter Mark Boal underscore the uniquely terrifying elements of this particular war. Instead of portraying a squad of fighters whose disparate personalities suggest a cross-section of Americans—a convention of war films—the film focuses on three marines whose job is to find and defuse bombs. The set pieces aren’t battle sequences but potentially lethal conundrums for the “tech,” whose job is to dismantle the explosives while his two cohorts keep guard.