‘Hurt Locker’ defies the odds as Iraq war movie

The 2009 movie season has been relentlessly tough on difficult dramas. There hasn't been a breakout specialized film release anywhere near last year's "Slumdog Millionaire." And ever since Hollywood starting turning out movies about Iraq, audiences (not to mention award voters) have stayed miles away.

“The Hurt Locker,” in other words, had three strikes against it -- before it even stepped up to bat.

But in one of the more noteworthy movie surprises of the year, director Kathryn Bigelow’s look at an American explosive ordnance disposal team in Iraq is making a bang at the art house, and seems likely to remain an awards front-runner.

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