The Toronto Star's Peter Howell has an early review of Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, in anticipation of the film's screenings at this year's Toronto International Film Festival September 8 and 10 (prior to that, Bigelow's film will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this Thursday, September 4th). The Hurt Locker was written by Mark Boal, whose 2004 Playboy article Death and Dishonor was the source for the Paul Haggis film In The Valley Of Elah. Howell states that with this new film, Bigelow "can add titan of suspense to her laurels. If you can sit through The Hurt Locker without your heart nearly pounding through your chest, you must be made of granite."
Howell begins his review by stating, "Just when you think the battle of Iraq war dramas has been fought and lost, along comes one that demands to be seen – if you can handle the raging adrenaline. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker strips the Iraqi conflict of politics and brings it right down to the garbage-strewn pavement, where lives are saved through skill and nerve but lost through bad luck and malevolence." Elsewhere in the review, Howell writes, "Testosterone flows non-stop and so does blood, but these macho men are just getting the job done. In so doing, they reveal much about themselves and also deliver some home truths about the Iraqi quagmire. This is no message movie, yet insights abound."