It's really difficult to imagine how this film was made without any assistance from the U.S. Armed Forces, but they did it. The Army felt this was too much of an anti-war story. But I guess that depends on your point of view. Showing the horrors of war is not necessarily anti-war. It's just a taste of reality. And in this case, it's a bitter taste.
Exploring the activites and emotions of an Army Explosive Ordinance team, The Hurt Locker was filmed in Jordan, not in Iraq. But I don't think anyone besides an Iraq War veteran will know this wasn't filmed in the war zone, with real troops and live ammunition. It feels like the real thing. Not so much documentary style as I had imagined. The actors are wonderful. The writing is crisp and concise. The photography is amazing. And the entire story is completely believable. It's no wonder The Hurt Locker rocked the 2010 BAFTA awards, winning best film, director, original screenplay, editing, cinematography and sound. I have no doubt that the film will also sweep the Oscars.
I hate to single anyone out of this superb cast, but I have to say what a pleasure it was to see Guy Pearce in the role of Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson. I've long admired his acting, and wished to see him more often. Jeremy Renner and Ralph Fiennes also turned in predictably solid performances, which I'm sure raised the bar for the less experienced members of the corps.
I'm told the budget for this film was only $11 million. Which, when compared to $200 million dollar blockbusters, is an unimaginably small budget. But you will never know, from watching this film, that there was any ill effect from such a thrifty production. It looks and feels like the award winning accomplishment it is. And that only adds to my admiration of director Kathryn Bigelow (James Cameron's ex-wife), and her talented crew. I just can't heap enough praise upon this gem.
Whether you view this as pro-Army, or anti-war, or just plain shocking, you have to say this film is thought provoking, deeply emotional, and I feel, honestly presents the bravery, patriotism, and esprit de corps of the men you'll find in our military today.
Update 8Mar; Congratulations to Kathryn, and the cast and crew for 9 Oscar nominations, and 6 Oscar awards including BEST PICTURE!