The Hurt Locker is a riveting film, thoughtful and realistic. It is a slice-of-life (and death) story about a bomb squad stationed in Baghdad in 2004, about the time that the insurgency was really starting to ratchet up.
The movie centers on Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), who is more than a little crazy. He’s extremely capable; he’s defused an incredible number of bombs and the brass adore him. However he takes unnecessary risks and sometimes puts his teammates in danger. Basically he’s an adrenaline junkie–and I’m using that term literally, since the movie seems be be making the explicit point that adrenaline is an addictive drug.
The film is shot using hand-held cameras, giving it the gritty immediacy of a documentary. It is refreshingly free of any political message; though it does take the point of view that people who plant bombs to blow up random victims are scum.