The Hurt Locker ***+

February 18, 2010 Agencies
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War is hell. It’s a cliché, but not one that Hollywood often embraces. There are exceptions, of course, like Oliver Stone’s Platoon, which takes no prisoners in depicting war as the gruesome, dehumanizing business it is. But Platoon and other films cut from the same cloth are more dramas than thrillers. The question is whether it’s possible to generate white-knuckle, grip-the-edge-of-the-seat tension in a war movie without turning it into a glorification of violence and bloodshed. Director Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron’s ex and the filmmaker behind Point Break and Strange Days, answers this question with a definitive, uncompromising “yes!” On a weekend when the effects-choked Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen staggers into theaters like a stoned 800-pound gorilla and threatens to put audiences to sleep with its brand of deadly dull “action,” The Hurt Locker is the film to see for those seeking an elevated pulse. It’s 20 minutes shorter and about three times more exciting.

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