The unrelenting and intense The Hurt Locker depicts war as a drug. Nobody knows better than Staff Sergeant James (Renner), head of an elite squad of soldiers tasked with disarming bombs in the heat of combat. To do this nerve-shredding job, it's not enough to be the best, you have to thrive in a zone where the margin of error is zero, think as diabolically as a bomb-maker, and somehow survive with your body and soul intact. (Gary Reber)
Special features include commentary with Director Kathryn Bigelow and Writer Mark Boal, a behind-the-scenes documentary (HD 12:36), an image gallery, and up-front previews.
The 1080p AVC picture exhibits a documentary character, with handheld camera work and the wonderful stark realistic cinematography of Barry Ackroyd. The imagery is extremely realistic and natural in appearance. There is no stylization here, but stark reality. Colors are naturally hued and reflect the dismal hues of desert civilization, or what is left of a deteriorating urban environment. Contrast is generally good, with strong deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Resolution is generally good, though, often soft in appearance, except for finely resolved close-ups. This is a grim setting, perfectly captured with engaging cinematography that will put you on edge and keep you there to the end. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audioô 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely produced, with an edgy emotionality and intensity that produces the jitters. Dialogue is often convincingly integrated spatially, from the forward-sounding headset communication and the normal dialogue heard during exterior and interior scenes. The dialogue sounds intimate throughout, as if you are right there up-close, though, at times too forward and not integrated well. Atmospheric and sound effects are impressively dimensional and at times fully SPL energized throughout the soundfield. Bass extension is deep and powerful, with below-25 Hz response in the .1 LFE channel. Some of the explosions powerfully reverberate, and the surrounds are often aggressively engaged with directionalized sound effects. There are even moments of intense overhead helicopter sounds. The music score is nicely recorded and dynamic, which effectively enhances the sense of constant danger. This is a thrilling and emotionally charged soundtrack that perfectly complements the intense visuals. (Gary Reber)