War is not a movie, as I wrote Monday. But if you're looking for the best film about America's post-9/11 missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, The Hurt Locker is a motion picture you will never forget.
Director Kathryn Bigelow, best known until now for Point Break and Blue Steel, tells the story of fictional Staff Sgt. William James, played to perfection by Jeremy Renner in a breakout performance. The lead character defuses bombs in Iraq, and for the most part, seems to enjoy it. But that's not to say he is immune to emotion or the horrors of war, without giving away too much of the plot.
Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal, and the movie itself were all nominated for Golden Globes on Tuesday. As former Washington Redskins coach George Allen liked to exclaim after a victory: Hip, hip, hooray!
A scene I will never forget, which taught me so much about what our troops go through, is when Renner's character suddenly appears in a suburban grocery store, shopping for food while thinking about dismantling explosives planted by terrorists in a foreign land. How do our veterans make that adjustment? It's almost incomprehensible to someone like me, who hasn't been through it.
Renner visited the CNN.com newsroom while I was still working there (unfortunately, I had the day off), and had a revealing discussion about the film with my former colleague, the brilliant Naamua Delaney. You can see Renner getting very emotional while talking about our troops and filming some of the movie's most intense scenes. How about an Oscar nomination for this fine actor, Academy?