DRAMA; 2hr 11min
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
On the edge: Renner (left) and Malcolm Barrett
It’s deadly business as usual for the US Army’s Baghdad-based Bravo Company: if the disarming of bombs doesn’t kill you, the anticipation as good as will. The Americans have a terrifying job to do in deplorable conditions, safeguarding an arid city whose psyche has already been shattered. It’s as if the men are operating on an alien planet with a decimated physicality and unreadable mindset.
Director Kathryn Bigelow hits the ground running, her hand-held cameras going in slow close you can taste the slow-burning sweat. As young as these soldiers are, they’ve lived through more than anyone should. Sergeant William James (Renner) is a prime example: having disarmed hundreds of bombs, he’s a maverick army hero. But back in the “real” world he is the alien, unable to relate to the everyday. The risk of death that sits on his shoulders has numbed James to anything but the outer limits of emotion. That’s just one price paid in this fierce dissection of the minutiae of war, in which even the survivors carry mortal wounds.