And it's winning awards. Here's Ebert,
"The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow's compelling film about a death-defying bomb disposal unit in Iraq, swept the field Monday as the 57 members of the Chicago Film Critics Association revealed their 2009 awards.As a complete story, it's not much, but there are bits-and-pieces, individual scenes, that are good; and I especially liked the end when the hero is getting off the C-120 for his second deployment. It sure looks like Iraq too. Not some place in southern California.
The film won every category it was nominated in: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), and Best Cinematography (Barry Ackroyd).
The Chicago victories, seen in the context of other big-city critics groups and the Golden Globe nominations, bring a few pre-Oscar trends into focus:
* "The Hurt Locker," moderately-budgeted at $11 million and produced independently, is in a horserace with "Up in the Air" in the Best Picture Category.
* Bigelow is the possible front-runner for Best Director. No woman has ever won in the category, and only three have been nominated: Lina Wertmüller ("Seven Beauties," 1976); Jane Campion ("The Piano," 1993), and Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation," 2003). That will work in her favor. Ironically, if her ex-husband James Cameron is nominated for his "Avatar," that may help her. Oscar voters love drama.