Netflix have added the last war film to win Best Picture at the Oscars
97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a six-time Oscar winner. An essential watch.
Now that the year is coming to a close and Christmas is upon us, film fans know exactly what that means; awards season is drawing closer.
While massive blockbusters like Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Wreck-It Ralph II: Ralph Breaks the Internet will continue to draw a crowd, the serious Oscar contenders are now gearing up for release.
War movies like Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge have achieved Oscar glory in the recent past, but the last war film to win the coveted title of Best Motion Picture was Kathryn Bigelow's superb film, The Hurt Locker.
While some war films have a tendency to glorify the 'all guns blazing' and jingoistic mentality, Bigelow's Oscar-winner is unique because it really does capture the tension, bravery and fear that must come with being on the front line.
The plot revolves around a new sergeant (Jeremy Renner) who takes over a highly-trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict in Iraq.
As an elite Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team tactfully navigates the streets of present-day Iraq (the movie was made in 2008), they face the constant threat of death from incoming bombs and sharp-shooting snipers. In Baghdad, roadside bombs are a common danger. The Army is working to make the city a safer place for Americans and Iraqis, so when it comes to dismantling IEDs (improvised explosive devices) the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) crew is always on their game.
But protecting the public isn't easy when there's no room for error, and every second spent dismantling a bomb is another second spent flirting with death. As three fearless bomb technicians take on the most dangerous job in Baghdad, it's only a matter of time before one of them gets sent to 'the hurt locker'.
In terms of building tension, Bigelow is in total control of her craft with two scenes - the first scene featuring a bomb being diffused and another featuring a sniper - scenes so unbearably tense that you'll be chewing your fingernails down to the bone.
Aside from the memorable action beats, the director of Point Break and Zero Dark Thirty is adept at understanding the mentality of these soldiers and what motivates them to put their lives at risk.
War is chaos, but for some people, war is also a drug.
Aside from winning six Oscars, The Hurt Locker is still one of the highest rated war films of the last decade. At present, the film has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 94% score on the more reliable Metacritic.
Here's what some of the critics made of it.
The Atlantic - "The Hurt Locker is without a doubt one of the best war pictures I have ever seen."
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."
TIME - "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."
The New Yorker - "A small classic of tension, bravery, and fear, which will be studied twenty years from now."
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."
If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.
Clip via StudiocanalUK