BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY The Hurt Locker★★★★ 11.15pm-1.50am Film Four
The film that made Kathryn Bigelow the first woman to win the Oscar for best director, an excellent war movie, set in Baghdad in 2004, is less concerned with politics than with the effect of war on the combatants. Jeremy Renner is the leader of a crack three-man bomb disposal team, a man for whom war is a drug and whose disregard for safety so concerns his sidekicks, Anthony Mackie and Brian Garaghty, that they contemplate killing him to save themselves. There’s plenty of tension, plenty of action but Bigelow’s strong point is in delving into the minds of the soldiers to discover why they do what they do. So we follow Renner and company through a number of nail-biting incidents, often with Iraqi civilians – including possibly the bomb-maker himself – watching with interest. This, you feel, is how the war probably was. Incidentally, there’s a splendid desert gunfight in which you might, just, recognise Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce in minuscule roles.
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