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Movie Review: The Hurt Locker (2009)

This is one thing that the Oscars got right.

The Hurt LockerI figured I should review this now that it is (finally) getting the recognition it deserves after winning Best Picture last night. Every single year with the Oscars, the same thing happens — all of the movies that are the top contenders for Best Picture are criticized by tons of people (especially on the internet) about how “the movie doesn’t deserve to be there”. The Hurt Locker is no different (seriously, go check out the IMDB board for this movie. It was a ghost town a week ago, and now it’s a ****ing warzone with people doing nothing but complaining about how this didn’t deserve to win). Usually I can see where these people are coming from (I really liked Slumdog Millionaire, but it was basically a watered-down version of City of God), but this time…no. The Hurt Locker was the best movie of 2009.

Usually when I watch a movie, it takes me a while (30+ minutes) before the movie really draws me in and then I start to enjoy it. Here, it drew me in immediately and it never let up for the whole two hours. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time; even though there really isn’t that much action for something that has been called an action movie, this is one of the most thrilling movies I’ve ever seen. Even on repeated viewings when I knew what was going to happen, the tension was still high. I have no idea how that happened, but I really have to give it to the filmmakers for figuring out how to do that.

After watching those first ten minutes, I realized that absolutely anything could happen in this movie. This isn’t the type of movie that leads up to a death and anyone watching it with half a brain could figure out when a certain character dies. Just like a real war, somebody could die without any warning and you’re left thinking “…holy crap”.

One of the reasons you’ll be thinking that is because the characters here are really easy to like and you don’t want to see any of them die. Jeremy Renner has been getting all the hype and was nominated for Best Actor, and he should have been. He did outstanding. Jeremy Renner and Sam Rockwell are probably my two favorite actors today. But, people have seemed to just forget about Anthony Mackie. I don’t think he should have beaten Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, but I definitely think Mackie should have at least received a nomination. Mackie’s character was probably my favorite in the whole movie.

Lately, people have been complaining about this because it really isn’t that realistic (especially in the last half of the movie). I haven’t been to Iraq or anything, and this is probably true; but it’s a ****ing movie. That’s a terrible way to criticize something. If it was a documentary and it wasn’t realistic, then it would be a valid point to bring up how realistic it is…but this is basically an action movie. For these people complaining that this wasn’t realistic enough, what should have won Best Picture? Avatar? Inglourious Basterds? Up? District 9? Those aren’t exactly realistic either.

This probably isn’t a movie that’s for everyone — if you don’t like war movies at all, this is not going to change your mind. But looking back on this in 30 or so years, I honestly think that this can be put on the same level as classics like Apocalypse Now.

Score = 10/10

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