You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jeff Davis on ‘ The Hurt Locker’

by Mark Boal

While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will get a lot of notice this season for being an excellent drama, a great war movie and a superb character piece, but for me it succeeds first and foremost as an incredibly tense thriller. Screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow take a very time-worn thriller cliche and make it new and fresh again not once but several times in the same movie. How often have we seen an action hero staring at a bomb, trying to pick the correct wire that will diffuse it while the clock runs down? In most of the situations, Boal takes out the two essential pieces to that equation (the correct wire and the ticking clock). Instead, he creates tension from a potential trigger-man standing watch on a rooftop while the bomb is being disarmed or the simple problem of not having a powerful enough bolt cutter. This may be Boal’s first script, but it’s storytelling at its most expert.

Jeff Davis is creator of the CBS series ‘Criminal Minds.’

More Film

  • Cannes: European Film Promotion Unveils 2018

    Cannes: European Film Promotion Unveils 2018 Producers on the Move

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

  • To-Dust-Matthew-Broderick

    Tribeca Film Review: 'To Dust'

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

  • avengers infinity war

    'Avengers: Infinity War' First Reactions: 'Marvel Puts It All on the Table'

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

  • ‘Deadpool 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Deadpool 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

  • Claire Foy'The Girl in the Spiders

    Claire Foy Previews Intense 'Girl in the Spider's Web' at CinemaCon

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

  • Anthony Mackie, Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz

    'Miss Bala,' Animated Spider-Man Show Sony's Commitment to Diverse Heroes

    While I was watching “The Hurt Locker,” I remember whispering two words in the theater when Jeremy Renner’s Sgt. William James pulls up the wires attached to seven bombs surrounding him: “Oh shit.” Exactly the two words I’m always trying to elicit from the audience when I sit down to write. “The Hurt Locker” will […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content