Review: The Hurt Locker does for Iraq what Platoon did for Vietnam

Miami HeraldJuly 24, 2009 

Like every war before it, the U.S. invasion of Iraq has generated its share of movies. But The Hurt Locker is the first of them that can properly be called a masterpiece.

Working from a screenplay by Mark Boal (who based the movie on his experiences as an embedded journalist with U.S. troops), director Kathryn Bigelow accomplishes two seemingly obvious but formidably difficult things: She crafts a taut and harrowing movie in which the suspense level rarely dips below excruciating, and she delivers an exceptionally detailed, first-hand account of the day-to-day existence of U.S. soldiers, the way Platoon did for Vietnam or Saving Private Ryan did for World War II.

The Hurt Locker is good enough to stand alongside those two hallowed classics, although it might initially seem too small and specific to merit such comparisons. Platoon and Ryan were designed to be broad summations of their respective wars, writ large, with the benefit of years of hindsight and reflection.

The Hurt Locker, which was shot on grainy 16mm film with handheld cameras and often looks not much different from a report you might see on CNN, is more urgent and of the moment. The movie does not concern itself with grand, sweeping statements or panoramic views of the Iraq conflict -- does not concern itself with anything, really, beyond its three protagonists, soldiers with one of the most dangerous jobs the Army has to offer.

Read the full story at

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service