I've heard a lot of good things about this movie, and after watching it, I knew exactly why. The film revolves around three American soldiers sent to Iraq as members of the EOD. The war in Iraq is quite different from other wars such as the World Wars, which made the film unique from other war films as well. It was more of a bomb squad team although the were shootout scenes depicting the war itself too.
I read it online that the film wanted to cast relatively unknown actors to play the three American soldiers. This was a great idea because there are a lot of talents to be discovered. Also, it allowed these actors to prove their worth in a very competitive industry. All of them showcased their abilities and did their characters, and the story, justice. Their portrayals were very authentic and that's a clear sign that they are good actors. Jeremy Renner didn't disappoint in this film as he took on the role of the team leader. This is the first time I'm really seeing Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty although they have been featured in some popular films. It seems like Mackie is doing well given the projects he had received, and the projects that he'll be doing. To be honest, I found the scene where Mackie was telling Renner how he wanted to quit and start a family just awkward. It was not bad at all, but it just felt a little awkward to me. I am not taking anything away from his performance because other than that his performance was great. Geraghty is not as lucky as the projects he has had is not as grand or huge, which is a shame because he is one talented actor and I think he would kill any role for sure. His performance in The Hurt Locker was one I'm sure people rooted for because of the innocence, fear and overall personality. I hope he finally gets a project where people will notice him. As a whole, the film featured an incredibly talented ensemble, as proven by several awards and nominations they received.
The pace of the movie was slow for me, which is not exactly a bad thing. It might have worked better in this film because the slowness magnified the intensity of the scenes. It's a war film and the pace of the movie showed the stillness of things in the life of a soldier, the wait they go through while thinking if they're gonna make it alive. The desert scene was the slowest scene for me. I'm really not a big fan of scenes that are very still but I didn't mind this at all. I watched, stared and waited with them. I was a little disappointed when it all led up to nothing. I thought the whole scene was a build up for this action-packed scene but it wasn't. However, having said that, I think this scene was the scene that made the film realistic. Majority of the war films feature heavy gunfights, but this movie presented a sense of subtlety.
The film was well-received though it did not do as well in the box-office earning less than 50 million dollars. It isn't a bad value, considering the budget was only 15 million dollars. The film made a considerable profit, though I think it had the capacity to do better because the plot, the screenplay, the actors are worth that few bucks. This is very evident from the responses of movie critics, and the high ratings the film gave. Incidentally, members of the military, or people more knowledgeable about wartime situations criticized the film for its inaccuracies because of several issues like the characters' behaviors, the uniforms, and such. I can't blame them because they are the people who actually went through the process. They know will always know more than the writers, the directors, the actors, and the viewers. However, having said that, I still believe that the filmmakers did all they possibly could to produce a well-thought out authentic depiction of the war. Of course they will never get every single detail right, and I believe they included some scene for the sake of cinematography. However, I still think it was a pretty close portrayal as it made me feel some things I feel when watching about the war on the news. I think, for creativity's sake, we can just enjoy the film the way the filmmakers made it. I'm sure, or at least I greatly hope, despite criticizing the film, the same people felt at least a little sense of appreciation on how the film was formed as it was a truly well-made film.