So I finally got the opportunity to see "The Hurt Locker," and I was blown away by how hard it hit me. Jeremy Renner was so affecting in his role as the leader of an elite Army bomb squad, and Kathryn Bigelow does another amazing job directing a film that's violence is as unsettling as its performances were striking.
I last saw Renner in 28 Weeks Later - another military role - and he was surprisingly nurturing and heroic as an American soldier fighting zombies. I had not seen him since his guest starring role on Season 3 of "Angel" on the WB, where he played a vampire with a broken heart out for revenge. I'd like to say I saw his potential even then, but I can't. I can say that it was compelling enough a performance that I hadn't forgotten him nine years later.
The last film of Bigelow's that I saw was K-19: The Widowmaker. The last one I loved was Strange Days, which also starred Ralph Fiennes but in a more prominent role. Kathryn's ability to set the scene is reliable, but for THL, she really recreates a war-worn world for the audience - inescapable, and suffocating despite being set mostly in the desert. It isn't a movie I'd watch over and over, but I mean that as a compliment. With some films, you need to see them again and again for things to resonate, I am certain that the images I witnessed in THL will stay with me forever. I had an emotional reaction to them and I defy anyone not to. This is a film whose performances deliver from the first frame to the last. Don't bother making any Oscar predictions if you don't see it first.