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The Hurt Locker (2009)

A 2009 movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

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  • Apr 6, 2010
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"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 with very familiar faces as, after doing a bit of research, a few of the actors have had very minor roles in other TV shows and movies so if this will be their leap to the big time, then it's well deserved. 

During the early stages of the Iraq war in 2004, this film follows a 3 member EOD (Explosives Ordinance Disposal) unit as they go about their missions in providing cover for one member, Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner) while he disarms IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices. James' behaviour in rushing into the blast radius without sending in the bomb disposal robot first leads to him being labelled reckless by his fellow officers, Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty). This image of a reckless officer has a negative effect on the team dynamic and as the film progresses you become more and more aware of the individual reasons why each character is the way he is. 

This film doesn't really follow a plot in the sense of that the team must solve some form of deep seeded puzzle, or there is a mastermind behind the bombs that this unit specifically dealt with. It simply follows a trio of officers as they do the same job which is being done for real in Iraq and touches upon how those officers deal with the situations in which they find themselves. The director, Kathryn Bigelow, wanted the film to immerse the viewer into something that was "Raw, immediate and Visceral". That it certainly achieved perfectly as although some of the scenes may seem slow, they're slow for a purpose. It wants you to be aware that anything can change at any time and although there may be a slight stint of calm and silence, that can change in an instant and it was brilliantly done. 

Although some of the actors may be better known than others, I'm happy in a way that it isn't a cast of megastars playing these roles. In a movie like this, if you had a cast that consisted of the likes of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon or Tom Cruise, for example, then the film simply wouldn't have the same impact. You would watch it for another purpose, rather than simply watching it for the story and that is why there appears to be this revolution of sorts with more and more of the most critically successful films containing unknown or little known actors rather than the big names. The film was shot in both Jordan and Kuwait and had a really authentic look and feel to it and the film is overall well deserving of any praise which it receives. 

However, there is one gripe I have about this film and it is one which was touched upon by other reviewers who unfairly gave it 1 star just due to this point alone. The way in which British servicemen were portrayed around the middle of the film was terribly offensive and overly typical to the point I had expected it to happen at some point during the film before even switching it on. There have been mountains of films that have done this and this will not be the last to make such a mistake, on the other side of the argument though, you would almost expect an English film to do the same thing to the Americans regardless of how serious the film is supposed to be. Although I did find this slightly offensive, I didn't let this damage my view of the film as a whole which I still support as being sublime. 

Shockingly brilliant and although it let me down in one particular scene, the film overall was superb. On Blu-Ray this film is especially done justice as the detail and resolution just makes it visually superb in its own right. Buy it, rent it or watch it at a friend's house. This is definitely a film to see.

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September 13, 2010
wonderful review! I loved this movie.
More The Hurt Locker reviews
review by . January 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   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 …
review by . January 21, 2010
Brilliant! An Honest and Suspenseful Look Into the Thrill of War!
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), …
review by . December 07, 2010
   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 …
review by . June 27, 2009
Hurt Locker
 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. …
review by . April 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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, …
Quick Tip by . July 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Outstanding film. Not a single bad thing about it. One of the best war films in years.
review by . March 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . March 09, 2010
"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. …
review by . March 06, 2010
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 …
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
About the reviewer
Steven Stewart ()
Ranked #95
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … 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 ...
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Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Genre: War
Release Date: June 26, 2009 
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
Runtime: 131 minutes
Studio: Summit Entertainment
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