THE HURT LOCKER
Release Date: June 26, 2009
Runtime: 131 minutes
Distributor: Summit Entertainment/Starz
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Executive Producer: Tony Mark
Writer: Mark Boal
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James joins the others when their previous sergeant is killed by an explosion. James is a hotheaded adrenaline junkie who takes many risks, yet is very talented in bomb dismantling. Eldridge is convinced he will die in battle and talks out his fears with the corps psychologist. Sandborn has voluntarily been with the unit for many years, yet longs for the day when he can return home.
As the calendar counts down the last month of their tour of duty, the stress on the trio becomes intense. On one patrol, they become penned down by snipers and the men bond with each other as other soldiers die around them.
When the tour of duty is completed, the three separate. One wounded, one returning home, and one finding that home life is not for him because he is made to serve in the bomb unit in Iraq and returns.
THE HURT LOCKER is an extremely well written and well directed drama. The screenwriter was embedded as a journalist in a bomb squad in Baghdad. His experience gives the movie a clear sense of authenticity. The performances are wonderful and the characters very complex, conflicted heroes but at the same time ordinary. Of special merit is the unique score which holds the movie together.
The story is mostly an excuse to see three lives lived out in the face of danger. There is only a thin plot as viewers are exposed to see the day in and day out lives of the soldiers in the bomb unit.
For the entire length of the movie, however, there is constant jeopardy and suspense. In their world, a pile of trash on the street could be a hidden block of C4 explosive. A passerby may be talking on his phone or he may be signaling the enemy. The characters are ordinary, regular soldiers who are called to an extraordinary duty.
While some in the audience saw this as an anti-war movie, it’s clear portrayal of the humanity and heroic actions of the characters keep this from being political in any way. The men are all volunteers in both the army and in the bomb unit. It does, however, show the brutality of war. The army psychologist and the commanding officer are both briefly seen and appear to be ineffectual, however.
There is much foul language from the soldiers, mostly the “f” word. There is also extreme war time violence and scenes of drunkenness. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution with THE HURT LOCKER.
THE HURT LOCKER is extremely well written and well directed. The story is an excuse to see three lives lived out in the face of danger, but there is constant jeopardy and suspense. While some saw this movie as an anti-war film, its clear portrayal of the humanity and heroic actions of the three soldiers keeps it from being political in any way. There is, however, plenty of strong foul language from the soldiers, mostly the “f” word. Also, the wartime violence is very strong, and there are scenes of drunkenness. Because of this, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.