Sergeant First Class Will James (Jeremy Renner) is a live wire. An accomplished bomb tech stationed with an explosive-ordnance disposal unit in Baghdad, James seems at ease only when facing his own mortality. He shields his uncertainty and vulnerability behind bravado and exorcises his personal demons on the battlefield. His reckless courage, at once irksome and dangerous to his unit—no-nonsense Sergeant J. T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and nervous newbie Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty)—compels a dissection of combat brotherhood.
Bigelow received widespread critical distinctions for this propulsive and penetrating film, which received Academy Awards for best director, picture, original screenplay, film editing, sound editing, and sound mixing. Before moving into filmmaking, she studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in New York. As a writer, director, and producer, she has created a canon of immersive films that exhilarate and affect audiences and defy expectations. Whether combining a vampire movie with a Western (Near Dark, 1987), a surfing film with a heist thriller (Point Break, 1991), film noir with science fiction (Strange Days, 1995), or an intimate character study with a war movie, as in The Hurt Locker, Bigelow transforms the language of genre and challenges audiences to rethink the traditional iconography of film.
Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)