Don't get me wrong, it was a good movie. But I don't think it was a great movie. The acting was good, but not great. The cinematography was good, but not great. The acting was good. But not great. The best I can say is that it looked like it was shot in the Middle East and indeed it was shot in Amman and Kuwait.
The plot is simple and non-political. Why not? These guys are in a war that very few people are happy about, including soldiers. Yet there isn't word one about it. None of them offers any kind of opinion on their situation, their superiors or the administration that sent them there. It was likely a decision to keep politics from distracting from the story or making the film political but fuck, people have opinions. Strong ones, especially when the action of your government place you in a war. Nothing. Nada.
The lead is obviously an adrenaline junkie, yet no one call him on it to his superiors. Going Rogue is not something EOD guys are supposed to do. The film takes place in 2006 when there were still issues with getting up-armored humvee's and equipment. Nothing. Also, a squad is generally 8-16 guys yet there are only three man characters.Why?
And most importantly, the film didn't grab me emotionally. I didn't really feel anything positive or negative about these people, which is a pretty big deal. Certainly people can have mixed emotions about a fellow soldier, but none of it grabbed me and none of it affected the story for the most part.
Want a great war type movie? Watch Blackhawk Down. First, it's a true story. Second it shows how acting with good intentions can have unintended, brutal consequences. Yes, BHD is more of a shooting film where The Hurt Locker is supposed to be about the tension. But I didn't get any tension from the Hurt Locker, where BHD had a shitload of tension. You are as frustrated as the soldiers on screen who are watching as everything goes to shit. You wonder why no one can get to these guys to help them. You feel ill because despite superior equipment and training a swarm of drug addled thugs are beating the shit out of our guys.
If you were going to give an Oscar for a war film, it should have been Blackhawk Down. The Hurt locker was a let down.