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 the psychological strain of war. They begin to display guilt, helplessness, random aggression and a strong desire for revenge.
When the group's tour of duty ends only William chooses to return to Iraq. He discovers that he is hopelessly addicted to his work in the military and unfit for civilian life.
The Hurt Locker stars Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie, with appearances by Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, Brian Geraghty, and Evangeline Lilly.
The script was written by first-time screenwriter Mark Boal, a freelance writer who has contributed to Playboy, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone magazines and who also wrote the short story that inspired the film In the Valley of Elah. Boal spent time embedded with a real bomb squad, which was a source for the story.
Other members of the key filmmaking crew include director of photography Barry Ackroyd, film editors Chris Innis and Bob Murawski, production designer Karl Júlíusson, production sound mixer Ray Beckett, and costume designer George Little. The film's real explosions and special effects were designed by Richard Stutsman and his team. The score was composed by Academy Award nominated composer Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders.
The Hurt Locker was shot mainly on location in the Middle East, over forty-four days from July to September 2007, during the height of the Iraq war surge. Often four or more camera crews filmed simultaneously, which resulted in nearly 200 hours of footage. There were also two days of pick up shots filmed in or around Vancouver, Canada, to accommodate home town actress Evangeline Lilly.
Although the filmmakers scouted for locations in Morocco, director Kathryn Bigelow sought greater authenticity and decided to film in Jordan because of its close proximity to Iraq. Some of the locations were less than three miles from the Iraqi border. All the Iraqi roles in the film were played by displaced Iraqi war refugees living in Jordan, many of them trained actors who had been forced to flee their country. They included roles by Suhail Aldabbach, Nabil Koni, Feisal Sadoun, Imad Dadudi, Hasan Darwish, Wasfi Amour, Nibras Quassem, Nader Tarawneh and very notably Christopher Sayegh in the role of "Beckham", the Iraqi street vendor kid who befriends Staff Sergeant William James played by Jeremy Renner.
Lead actor Jeremy Renner, who trained with real EOD teams prior to shooting the film, says that great pains were taken to ensure the film's authenticity. According to Renner, shooting the film in the Middle East contributed to this. "There were two by fours with nails being dropped from two-story buildings that hit me in the helmet and they were throwing rocks... we got shot at a few times while we were filming," Renner said. "When you see it, you're gonna feel like you've been in war."
"You can't fake that amount of heat," Anthony Mackie who plays Sgt. Sanborn says, adding, "When you are on set and all of the extras are Iraqi refugees, it really informs the movie that you're making. When you start hearing the stories from a true perspective... of people who were actually there, it gives you a clear viewpoint of where you are as an artist and the story you would like to tell. It was a great experience to be there."
According to screenwriter Boal, "It's the first movie about the Iraq war that purports to show the experience of the soldiers." "We wanted to show the kinds of things that soldiers go through that you can't see on CNN." He adds, "Most war movies don't come out until after the war is over. It's really exciting for me, coming out of the world of journalism, to have a movie come out about a conflict while the conflict is still going on."
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