The Hurt Locker 2008

Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude, it's both the film about the war in Iraq that we've been waiting for and the kind of unqualified triumph that's been long expected from director Kathryn Bigelow. Read more

Ben Lyons, At the Movies: One of the most authentic and powerfully believable war movies in recent times. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: [Kathryn] Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal...have made the first fictional feature about American soldiers in Iraq that doesn't fall apart, or preach to a choir, or turn into a position paper. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: Our American love for mavericks is bound to get tied in knots watching James' cavalier approach to everyone's death. He's a hero and a menace. Read more

Kathleen Murphy, MSN Movies: ... a super-smart actioner about men in war that's arguably the best American film of the year. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The Hurt Locker might be the first Iraq-set film to break through to a mass audience because it doesn't lead with the paralysis of the guilt-ridden Yank. The horror is there, but under the rush. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: A first-rate action thriller, a vivid evocation of urban warfare in Iraq, a penetrating study of heroism and a showcase for austere technique, terse writing and a trio of brilliant performances. Read more

Tom Keogh, Seattle Times: As unpredictable and tragic as it is genuinely riveting. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Its insights and reach extend far beyond what's happened there over the past several years. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: For the first hour or more, The Hurt Locker boldly forsakes any conventional narrative hook beyond the ongoing tensions between these men and the terrifying grind of defusing bombs day after day. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Bigelow's direction is confident -- the action sequences are tense and suspenseful, so much so that The Hurt Locker also works as a straight-up war film. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow have made a unique film about war. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: It's the best war movie since Full Metal Jacket. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The director, Kathryn Bigelow, shot with four lightweight cameras, and the imagery is rarely still. The jitteriness is appropriate for a world where everything can suddenly blow to smithereens. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: The miserably visceral exists here not as exploitation but out of the demands of authenticity. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The question isn't how do you live with the buzz of looming death; it's how do you live without it? No answers are offered, or even suggested. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: An intense, action-driven war pic, a muscular, efficient standout that 
 simultaneously conveys the feeling of combat from within as well as what it looks like on the ground. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: 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. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: Like her protagonist, Bigelow is both a meticulous technician and a ballsy showoff. And, like him, she has ice water in her veins. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: The Hurt Locker leaves an impression. It practically leaves a bruise. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The Hurt Locker is a small classic of tension, bravery, and fear, which will be studied twenty years from now when people want to understand something of what happened to American soldiers in Iraq. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Offers a fresh take on the war and the men in it. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: When it comes to getting an audience's attention, there's nothing quite like blowing up a major star within the first five minutes of a movie. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: A movie that deserves to stand as one of the defining films of the decade. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Despite its pumped-up admiration for our troops and some scenes that spurt adrenaline like a fire hose, this sort-of-thriller about a bomb squad working in 2004 is stretched both timewise and for plausibility. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: If The Hurt Locker is not the best action movie of the summer, I'll blow up my car. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: This beyond-the-headlines war movie, a 'ticking clock' thriller from journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal, is the first Iraq War movie to qualify as more first-rate entertainment than sermon. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Like all the best war movies -- no matter what war, what era -- The Hurt Locker goes to the core of human nature. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: More than any recent movie, this has a 'you are there' feel to it that gives us a flavor of an Iraq we don't see on the nightly newscasts. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard One of the best movies of the year, with a star-making performance from Jeremy Renner. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The Hurt Locker is a spellbinding war film by Kathryn Bigelow, a master of stories about men and women who choose to be in physical danger. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Here's the Iraq War movie for those who don't like Iraq War movies. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, In the end, Bigelow's point of view is what's most interesting about The Hurt Locker. The picture's strength lies in the details she focuses on. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: We've had good and very good Iraq movies for several years now, but The Hurt Locker has a fullness of understanding that sets it apart. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: By keeping its scale miniature instead of epic (there are no combat scenes in the traditional sense), The Hurt Locker keeps its audience in a constant state of tension without risking battle fatigue. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Psychologically acute and thrillingly dramatic, The Hurt Locker blows every other Iraq war movie off the screen. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Hurt Locker is at once an unforgettable war film and a brilliant character study. Read more

James Adams, Globe and Mail: Bigelow and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd crank up the tension to nail-biting, gut-churning extremes and the mayhem is powerfully visceral. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: There is something powerfully convincing about Bigelow's way of placing the viewer in a situation where death is unpredictable, can come from 360 degrees, and is indiscriminate about who it takes. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Just when you thought the battle of Iraq war dramas had been fought and lost, along comes one that demands to be seen -- if you can handle the raging adrenaline. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The Hurt Locker is a near-perfect movie about men in war, men at work. Through sturdy imagery and violent action, it says that even Hell needs heroes. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: Bigelow's film combines an expert management of tension with a sensitive and journalistic attention to detail: she has one eye on the truth and the other on the multiplex. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Finally, Hollywood has made a great film about the Iraq War. Read more

Derek Elley, Variety: Often gripping at a straight thriller level, but increasingly weakened by its fuzzy psychology, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker doesn't bring anything new to the table of grunts-in-the-firing-line movies. Read more

Scott Foundas, Village Voice: Instead of setting out to prove a point, it seeks to immerse us in an environment -- something Bigelow does with a conceptual rigor usually associated with those directors whose work is confined to film societies and art houses. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: The Hurt Locker is about Iraq in the same way that Paths of Glory was about World War I or Full Metal Jacket was about Vietnam -- which is to say, utterly and not at all. The Hurt Locker is a great movie, period. Read more