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Iraq War drama puts viewers in the middle of the action

Kathryn Bigelow’s explosive Iraq War drama puts viewers in the middle of the action

THE HURT LOCKER (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Sunday, February 19, 4:00 & 8:45
Series runs February 18 - March 1

Metrograph is getting ready for the Academy Awards by screening some of its favorite Best Picture champs, beginning February 18 with Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca, followed February 19 by Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night and Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. Based on embedded journalist Mark Boal’s experiences in Iraq, The Hurt Locker follows a three-member Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit as they are called in to defuse a series of dangerous situations involving various kinds of bombs, including IEDs and other life-threatening explosive devices. Team leader Will James (Jeremy Renner) is an expert bomb defuser and maverick who doesn’t follow protocol and likes to live on the edge. Spc. Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) is a greenhorn who just wants to survive the last forty days of their rotation. And Sgt. J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) likes to go by the book and take no unnecessary chances, which puts him in constant conflict with the unpredictable James. Recalling the second half of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 Vietnam drama Full Metal Jacket, The Hurt Locker unfolds in a series of harrowing set pieces in which the EOD unit is called in to either safely detonate or defuse explosive devices while under the eyes of local Iraqis, any of whom could potentially be the bomber or a sniper.


Sgt. J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is distressed by the realities of the Iraq War in THE HURT LOCKER

Director Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Point Break) masterfully builds suspense scene after scene, beginning with the edge-of-your-seat opener through to the gripping conclusion. The experiences of the EOD unit serve as a microcosm for modern warfare in general and the U.S. involvement in the Middle East specifically, placing viewers in the midst of a tense, bitter, psychologically and emotionally draining battle that can never be won. The outstanding cast also features Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, and Evangeline Lilly in small roles; many of the Iraqis were played by actual war refugees. Shot in Jordan not far from the Iraq border, The Hurt Locker is a remarkable story, one of the best war films of the young century. Nominated for nine Academy Awards and winner of six (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing), The Hurt Locker is screening February 19 at 4:00 and 8:45 in the Metrograph series “Oscar: Our Favorite Best Picture Winners,” which continues with such other great flicks as Federico Fellini’s La Strada, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, and John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy.

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