The major Oscar contenders have finally made their way to DVD, allowing all the smaller films that gained minor theatrical releases to really connect with audiences. Director Kathryn Bigelow is a rare female director that has a distinctive body of work ranging from the vampire film Near Dark to the surfing heist film Point Break. Her latest film is by far her best, the intense war film The Hurt Locker. The DVD isn’t as packed with features as it should, but the movie more than makes up for anything that’s lacking.
The Hurt Locker follows a group of bomb disposal specialists as the events they find themselves in slowly get the better of them. Sgt. Will James (Jeremy Renner) is the reckless new leader of Bravo Company but clashes head with the remaining two members Spc. Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) and Sgt. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie). When James goes on a rouge mission to avenge the death of a little boy, he places the other two in more danger than they expect. The new leader’s reckless attitude hides underlying fears and apprehensions no one expects. The questions that arise from The Hurt Locker don’t just follow the typical war questions such as how the men deal with life after the war. The three men all have different reasons to enjoy their work and while James’ actions could be seen as a self-destructive death wish, one also starts to wonder if he just enjoys the work because he’s good at it. The movie doesn’t attempt to make any statement for or against the current war, something also interesting considering the subject matter. The character development is by far the strongest as the group don’t have the typical camaraderie seen in past films of the genre, there’s an overlying tension that haunts the group because of James’ reckless behavior.
In terms of features, something I don’t tend to look for is picture quality and color. The Hurt Locker is fantastic if you have a HD television or computer screen. The colors of the desert pop and while it would seem endless expanses of desert can’t look beautiful, they do. Towns also have exquisite detail that one doesn’t notice on most movies. A lot of this could be attributed to camera techniques or something but there is something about this picture quality that even the most novice DVD buff will take notice of. The features on the DVD are fairly simple. A full-length audio commentary with director Bigelow and writer Mark Boal is interesting as they discuss story issues and the challenges that came with filming this story. It’s fairly standard stuff and nothing that you won’t find in commentaries of this type but you gain a better understanding of how the group filmed this movie, and considering the writing is so sharp it’s great to get Boal’s perspective on the characters. Aside from that there’s a typical making-of featurette that doesn’t offer anything of importance, and an image gallery merely has stills that one can find on IMDB.
While the DVD may be nothing to write home about, this movie is. Look for this to gain several more awards, and rumors of Oscar consideration is ramping up. The acting, story, and writing are all amazing and this movie is not the typical war film. Check it out on DVD, highly recommended!