The Hurt Locker

“War is a drug” reads the quote at the start of this tense, pacy, atmospheric and darkly witty action film. Laconic bomb-disposal veteran Sergeant James is the addict here, newly posted to Baghdad after his predecessor was disassembled by a bomb. On his first day, James sets the pattern by calmly facing off a suspected car bomber and ignoring safety protocol to defuse a cluster of buried shells. His two teammates wonder if he – or they – will survive the next 38 days of their tour. James is a man who finds peacetime life hard in comparison to the life-or-death simplicity of war, and in Iraq, where no amount of care will ensure your survival, he’s in his element. 8/10

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