Geoff asked me to post my reasons for liking THE HURT LOCKER, so here goes.
1. I was in awe of the film's ability to create and sustain suspense. As a writer I'm always interested in how to accomplish this. Frankly, the lessons of film don't always generalize to the printed page. I suspect camera work had A LOT to do with generating tension, but still. The sense of conflict was so real and urgent, it left me breathless.
2. I cared about the characters. Would they survive? Would they survive with body parts and humanity intact?
3. I think I better understand how it must feel to be there in the thick of action, which gave me a renewed sense of respect for our servicemen, including my daughter-in-law's father, who was in Baghdad for nine months. THE HURT LOCKER doesn't have any political message. Our decision to be in the Middle East--for good or bad--isn't the point. The point is what it FEELS like to be there. To this end, the film is graphic. Lots of real bombs. Lots of f-bombs. And that's exactly the kind of thing that folks get their undies in a twist about. But do you know what? I don't think any of it was gratuitous. And the film would NOT have been anywhere near as effective without the gritty look and language.
4. And because I'm shallow, I liked the full hit of testosterone I got while watching it. Which is one of the points of the movie, actually--how that rush of adrenalin one feels in the face of danger can be its own form of addiction.
Anyway. Wow. I'm glad I watched it.