I was beginning to think it wasn’t possible: a full-bore, suspense-filled action movie that doesn’t insult your intelligence, and remains grounded in reality. This instant classic from director Kathryn Bigelow (James Cameron’s ex) will be remembered as the definitive film about the war in Iraq. The technique is austere (no fast-edit nonsense or other tricks), the script is direct, and the performances are uniformly brilliant. It’s not judgmental; indeed, there’s no political agenda whatsoever. This is about the soldiers there and the job they have to do. And why they do it. In this case, that job is bomb disposal, with Jeremy Renner as the leader of a unit that defuses IED s. It’s a fascinating character study that takes you right inside this unconventional hero’s head. But be warned, this spellbinding movie will also get inside yours. It’s powerful stuff. Backing up Renner is Anthony Mackie, playing the unit’s realist to balance Renner’s risk-taker. If Avatar takes the Best Picture Oscar over this flawlessly crafted, original film, there is no justice in the world, or at least within the AMPAS.
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