Finally saw The Hurt Locker this weekend, in a crowded Landmark Sunshine theater on Saturday. The hype didn’t diminish how much I fell for the film. It’s a great, taut, and skillful suspense/thriller/war film. As I watched it, I kept realizing how little of the film is out there in marketing materials. No abundant trailers and clips, no real TV ads. This is probably symptomatic of a limited release, but it also works rather well in maintaining the film’s wanna-see factor. I think Summit is doing a great job of selling the film, by using the astonishing reviews as the bait. No need for massive visual enticement when you have these kinds of ads to sell the movie for you. Which works on multiple levels, not least of which is that this means the film can get by without over-representing the Iraq war setting (and thus, keeping some crowds away).
Meanwhile, what a “star is born” moment for lead Jeremy Renner. He’s pushing 40 years old, but he’s finally arrived in a role that could propel him into the studio world (a world he’s only occasionally flirted with). Over the years, he’s won raves with small but effective supporting roles in Twelve and Holding, 28 Weeks Later, North Country, and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. His first screen role was a major part in a studio film, a production that I saw in theaters, because I was in high school at the time. That film is National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, and you can see a very young Renner in this excerpt from the 1995 New Line Cinema release: