A Film of Ultimate Reward

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

The Hurt Locker - Movie PosterTHE HURT LOCKER is perhaps the best film on the war in Iraq you will ever see, if not the best film on war itself.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the story is about the day-to-day experiences of an Army three-man detonation team whose job is to defuse any improvised explosive devices that are found before they can be detonated.

This is more than tricky, because an IED can be exploded on contact, exploded by a timer, or exploded by someone watching from safety who can set it off by using a cell phone.

So, a team consists of two men with rifles who scan the area on the lookout for anything suspicious while the team leader dons a heavy bomb suit and walks up to the bomb, which is usually hidden or covered, and tries to defuse it.

The story begins in 2004 in Baghdad, and one such team has just lost their leader in an explosion, when their company has only 38 days left in their rotation before they can be shipped back to the United States.

Staff Sergeant James, played superbly by Jeremy Renner, joins the team, and he is a “cowboy,” a “wild man” as one colonel calls him out of admiration, and he doesn’t always work by the rules. When he comes across a trunkfull of bombs in a car, he takes off his bomb suit, telling his team, “There’s enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I’m going to die, I want to die comfortable.”

You have heard of “black humor”? Sgt. James has a sense of humor that could be called “black-hole humor.”

When asked by an officer what the best way is to defuse a bomb, Sgt. James tells him “the way you won’t die.”

As the days and the defused bombs go by, we get a countdown to the number of days left in rotation, and a sense of foreboding envelopes the team and the audience.

The action is not just bombs and defusings and explosions, however, We see the team at work and at play, plus their interaction with other soldiers and civilians, and the music is haunting.

The title of the film is a phrase that refers to “a place of ultimate pain.”

THE HURT LOCKER is a film of ultimate pleasure and reward.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”