the hurt locker 
funny that imdb.com has the year for this flick as 2008 yet it was released last year and is up, as most everyone knows by now, for a few oscars. perhaps it did come out in 2008. there was only a very limited run at the local arthouse then it went pooft into the aether only to land into the laps of reverent and clamorous critics giving this movie every bit of praise that can be dreamed up between the screening room and the fingers hitting the keyboards.
perhaps 2009 was a paltry year for films which makes the hurt locker
the critics' darling. not that this is a bad movie. director kathryn bigelow [a piece of trivia: she is the ex-wife of that other director who made the world's biggest grossing film ever, to date, and is up for a few academy awards himself, guess who that might be] is an immensely talented filmmaker. i've been a fan of her work for many moons now. she made the revisionist splatter/biker/white-trash vampire flick near dark
 that is so goddamned good that it makes all these rather fey vampires of today look like sissies.
which they are. notable exceptions noted of course. this is an intense movie, superbly directed, with gorgeous photography and crisply edited. the acting for the most part is nearly up to the level of bigelow's talent. almost. the lead character, a bomb diffuser, played by an almost local boy, he's from modesto which ain't too far from where i sit now typing, jeremy renner is addicted to the adrenaline rush of combat. he's cool under pressure but outside the kill zone he's wild as fuck. and his wildness, as essayed by renner, rings hollow. renner cowboys up too hard and it looks like he's acting rather than being the character. his body movement and his voice sound false. he seems too passive to be acting so aggressive and so makes up for it by being as over the top as he possibly can.
renner is a good actor. i've seen him play the lead in dahmer
 where renner's passivity is made up so creepily good in a character that is lost in a psychotic fantasy world of his own making. and i've seen renner portray another soldier in 28 weeks later
 which capitalizes on his strengths. but for this flick renner is stumbling toward a psychosis that never seems authentic. he's playing gung-ho crazy like it was another person's idea of gung-ho crazy.
plus the movie is so intense that it becomes monotonous, nearly washed out, almost grey. by the third act my attention began to flag. yeah, yeah, war is hell, it is an addiction, it will get you killed, yadda yadda yadda. not that the movie lacks realism. several set pieces work extraordinarily well. and there's a scene where renner's character heads to the camp's showers still dressed in battle gear after a very grueling mission and we see the blood and sand wash from his clothes and down the drain. damn that was a good scene.
perhaps it's because i'm pissed. the very charge levelled at my favorite movie of last year, which was also made in 2008 but not released until '09, the road
, is that the monotony of grim intensity made the viewing unbearable and thus boring is the same quality i found in the hurt locker
. only for me the movie version of cormac mccarthy's book was populated by two idiomatic characters who sere into your grey matter. that movie got fuck-all of a distribution and was roundly ignored by the movie-going public.
i wish kathryn bigelow the best and as for the oscars i hope she gets one. she really is that good of a director. bigelow has made only a handful of films ranging from the exciting to the sublime. and i wish jeremy renner more interesting projects to come his way. the technique and overall execution of the hurt locker
is first-rate. there are some haunting set pieces that will have you replay them over in your head again and again. there is no big but as tho this movie does not deserve its accolades because it does. i was just whelmed with the experience of watching it and almost fell asleep near the end. the intensity is exhausting but not because it feels like you've run a marathon and your heart is racing and you feel so alive. it is exhausting because that intensity becomes monotonous. if one were to make a simple graph of this flick it would be a single straight line.