It seems like everybody and their goddamn mother has tried their hand at making an Iraq War movie. Paul Haggis did it with In the Valley of Elah; Ryan Phillipe gave it a shot with Stop-Loss; his ex-wife, Reese Witherspoon, and her new boyfriend, Jake Gyllenhaal, attempted it in Rendition; Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams did The Lucky Ones; Peter Berg took a stab with The Kingdom; and John Cusack has tried it twice, with Grace and War, Inc.
And yet, all those movies have something in common besides storylines that center around the Iraq War: They all stunk it up at the box office. No one apparently wants to see an Iraq War movie — not a gritty one, not a feel-good one; and certainly not a serious one.
That may, however, soon change with Kathryn Bigelow’s seriously cool looking Hurt Locker, starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Guy Pierce, and David Morse. Instead of focusing her attention on the politics of the war or on the devastation its caused to the families who have lost loved ones in it, Bigelow — working from Mark Boal’s script (In the Valley of Elah) — focuses on the kablooey, or the dudes that are put in charge of preventing the kablooey. It’s the kind of movie Michael Bay might make, if he were thoughtful, a little more restrained, or at all talented. And it looks downright amazing.