Matt Williams’s review published on Letterboxd:
Goddamn this film is a masterpiece.
Best film of 2009 and rightfully won Best Picture over AVATAR.
Jeremy Renner plays "men on a mission" as good as anyone else out there. His reckless character, constantly seeking adrenaline hits, makes for one of the most tense films probably ever made.
The film also aptly portrays the mental toll of war, whether it's Anthony Mackie's emotional breakdown or Renner's inability to be a part of normal society.
Some people saw this as a pro-war movie; I don't see it. The film depicts the dangers of war on both sides - not knowing who is friend or foe - as well as the terrible casualties on BOTH sides. These soldiers aren't here to justify their presence in this country or what our government is doing; they're just doing their jobs. Yes, Renner's character rejects his life back home and returns to the war, but I don't read that as a pro-war statement; it's who his character is, and if anything, is a repudiation of war and how it damages the men on the ground and how difficult it is to return to normal life.
The film was shot largely on location near combat zones.
Shot with Aaton A-Minima and Aaton XTR Prod 16mm cameras (with Canon lenses) and an IDT Redlake Y5 digital camera for shots with incredibly high frame rates (slow motion).
Film stocks were Eterna 250D 8663 and 500T 8673.
The cinematography (and editing) are beautifully frantic and the use of longer focal lengths to compress elements of the frame works gorgeously. The grain from the 16mm stocks is *chef's kiss*.