THE HURT LOCKER is not an easy film to watch, especially for veterans. It may be about the Iraq War circa 2004, but it is essentially about WAR in general and the devastation created by this most foolish of human games not only on the countrymen of the site of the killing but also on the soldiers from all countries who bond to fight the 'enemy': as Pogo said in a long ago war 'We have met the enemy and he is us'. Kathryn Bigelow has accomplished the unthinkable - she has created a small, tense, breathless re-enactment of a group of men (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) whose sense of mission and sense of family and disillusion are as fragile as the homemade human and other bombs they render safe. In a minimal but terse script by Mark Boal the words are less important than the expressions on the actors faces, and with a cast as fine as this, those statements are more powerful than words.
The scene is Baghdad in 2004 and we watch as an EOD specialist Thompson (Guy Pierce), a man for whom the group - namely Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) - has profound respect and love, is blown up in the first minutes of the film. Thompson is replaced by an obsessed EOD specialist with a record of over 800 bombs rendered safe, one William James (Jeremy Renner) who keeps his mementos of wasted bombs in his 'hurt locker' under his bed. The film deals with the gradual adjustment of the men to this new, obsessed EOD man as the group faces horrendous encounters with the Iraqis, both adults and children. There are surprise cameos by David Morse and by Ralph Fiennes, but they don't last long as characters. What lasts is the interdependency among the men locked into a mission more terrifying than can be imagined.
Jeremy Renner delivers a finely nuanced performance of a man whose adrenaline rush with his job makes him a unique sort of being, yet a man who is capable of the most tender of responses. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are also superb in roles that in other actors' hands may have become trite. This is an important film for all of us to see - especially now, as war escalates over the globe. Kathryn Bigelow deserves the Oscar for bringing this stunning event to the screen. Grady Harp, January 10
We have seen several movies about urban warfare. One of my personal favorites is Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down” that chronicles a harrowing incident in Somalia. With the war in Iraq still going on, filmmakers wouldn’t be hard-pressed to capitalize on today’s current events. Movies such as “Brothers” and “Home of the Brave” are some of the few. Director Kathryn Bigelow with screenwriter Mark Boal now chronicles the experiences of … more
"The Hurt Locker" currently stands as the most critically acclaimed film of 2009 and after seeing it just this week I'm inclined to agree this acclamation wholeheartedly. This really is a work of art from start to finish and has now been moved to the top of my list of movies to own and cherish forever. Since its release it has won numerous awards and has 9 Academy award nominations which they will undoubtedly win come the ceremony in March. The cast comprises of unknowns, but are ones … more
Generally speaking, watching war films isn't always a fun experience. After wards they can leave feeling down and depressed and while The Hurt Locker is mostly a serious film, it is filled with subtle humor and will leave you at the edge of your seat the minute the film starts. Being her first major directing job, Kathryn Bigelow did an outstanding job capturing all the nit and grit of the battlefield that is Iraq. In such a male dominated field (not directing; being a soldier), … more
The Hurt Locker represents a turning point for Hollywood: it not only marks the first time a woman has been awarded the Oscar for Best Picture, but also for Best Director, and anyone who has seen this film will surely agree it deserved them both. Bigelow's direction demonstrates a natural command over her subject, despite never having been to war. Her battle scenes deliver tense moments of suspense and terror in this story about a bomb disposal unit, Bravo Company, serving in the … more
I am still reeling from how good 'The Hurt Locker' is. It's one of those movies that stays with you and makes you want to talk about it with others - which is why I'm up writing this review. By far, this film is one of the most intense movies I've seen in a long time. The writing is superb. Mark Boal's script flies off the page with a brisk pace and treats the audience as intelligent people who do not need to be force fed. Tension is the through line here. … more
Pros: One of the actors was attractive and a couple of explosions are cool Cons: Grab a thesaurus and pick out 15 words for boring, all of them will apply The Bottom Line: 30 shades of brown 30 shades of ennui without content. Don't bother, waiting in line at the DMV is more exciting. Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The Hurt Locker is a tepid film. It is inconsistent, … more
"The Hurt Locker" has just won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture and it truly earns it. Here is a war movie that takes no real position on war, and especially no position on the Iraq War, and simply shows the mental and physical brutality and beauty of conflict. You know the story by now. It centers around a bomb disposal and disarmament team in Iraq who throw themselves into harm's way on a regular basis in order to make life safer for their fellow soldiers and civilians. … more
Hurt Locker isn't a bad film in itself and the story of the main character is interesting, as is the menace of the bombs and the faceless duel that seems to ensue. I think that part of the film is clever. The sets are fantastic and have a realistic gritty feel. Now I have not been to Iraq/Afghanistan myself but in my circle of friends there are two that have been there for tour of duty and keeping this in mind I don't think he story is far fetched as some here say. Things … more
Hey don't fret, potential enlistee! Hard as it is to discount the evidence of your senses when bombarded with skillful and costly cinematography, the 'gritty realism' of this film is totally unrealistic, full-bore Hollywood. Yeah, there may be scenes of mayhem similar to the scenes in the film at times, but not with such convenient regularity, not even in Baghdad in 2004. And there were innumerable other implausible or outright false details; just look at the one-star reviews here and not how many … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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The Hurt Locker is a 2009 American war thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Shot in Jordan, the film is based on recently declassified information about a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) (bomb squad) team in present day Iraq. The Hurt Locker is written by Mark Boal, a freelance writer who was embedded with a bomb squad.
The Hurt Locker was picked up by distributor Summit Entertainment. The film was released in the U.S. on June 26, 2009 in New York and Los Angeles, going wider on July 24, 2009.
The Hurt Locker follows a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit as it works to defuse a series of improvised explosive devices (IED) in the streets of Iraq.
When the team's long-time bomb technician is killed, he is quickly replaced with the intelligent but impulsive Sergeant First Class William James. Team members Sergeant JT Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge are initially disturbed by William's reckless behavior, but they learn to work together as a unit. It soon becomes apparent that William actually craves the feeling of mortal danger that he experiences while defusing bombs.
As the unit deals with one explosive device after another, it confronts the unpredictable and extreme violence of a growing Iraqi insurgency. Team members struggle constantly to distinguish enemy insurgents from innocent Iraqis and to protect themselves while avoiding civilian casualties. As the group's tour of duty draws to a close, each member suffers visibly from ...