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“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)

"The Hurt Locker"

1. I had heard this movie was tense, but that turned out to be a complete understatement. Watching the film is like performing open-heart surgery on your best friend while being blindfolded. Not that I could perform open-heart surgery without a blindfold, but you get the idea.

2. The leading cast of unknowns (Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) are just as brilliant as the supporting cast of uncredited “names” (Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce and Evangeline Lilly), proving that you don’t need a name to carry a film.

3. Shot in Jordan’s capital city Amman, the scenery doesn’t get more realistic. These aren’t converted studio back lots, or Arizona desertscape being faked to look like Iraq. This is real Middle Eastern desert here, folks, and it’s a noticeable detail that adds an astounding amount of realism to the film.

4. I’m usually not a fan of the shaky handheld camera work that has recently plagued Hollywood over the past few years; unless, of course, it’s absolutely necessary to the storytelling. Here, it works. The movie made my hands shake, and I was just sitting in the theater.

5. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal have created one of my top five films of 2009 (so far), and tonight at the screening they announced that they’re working on another film together. I can’t wait.

About as real to war as I care to get,


Old Poop!