THE HURT LOCKER is a suspense filled drama centering on three soldiers who are part of an elite squad that disarms roadside bombs in Iraq. In 2004, James, Sandborn and Eldridge patrol Baghdad, risking their lives to dismantle or proactively explode hidden mines in the city’s streets.
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.
(B, C, Pa, LLL, VVV, AA, D, MM) Light moral worldview with redemptive elements as soldiers protect Iraqi citizens by risking their lives to disarm bombs mixed with some minor hedonist attitudes such as drinking to excess and character enjoys the adrenaline rush of disarming bombs; 75 obscenities and eight profanities; very strong wartime violence such as multiple soldiers shot on screen, man wearing bomb is blown up, man is killed in blast, corpse with bomb is disarmed by cutting into body, man shown with leg blown off, fist fight among soldier; no sexual content; no nudity; heavy drinking and drunkenness; constant smoking by main character; and lying and an army psychologist and a commanding officer appear to be ineffectual.
HE HURT LOCKER is a compelling, suspenseful war drama centering on three soldiers who are part of an elite squad that disarms bombs in Iraq. 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 corp psychologist. Sandborn has voluntarily been with the unit for many years yet longs for the day when he can return home.
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.