The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker
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Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

Title:The Hurt Locker
Release Date:October 10, 2008
Genres:Drama, Thriller, War
Production Co.:Summit Entertainment, Kingsgate Films, Grosvenor Park Media Ltd., Voltage Pictures, Film Capital Europe Funds (FCEF ), First Light Production
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Kathryn Bigelow, Aslaug Konradsdottir
Casts:, , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:sniper, explosive, loyalty, u.s. army, iraq, car bomb, suspense, tension, iraq war, desert, bomb squad, body armor, woman director, army sergeant
Alternative Titles:
  • Tödliches Kommando - [DE]
  • Démineurs - [FR]
  • Guerra ao Terror - [BR]
  • A bombák földjén - [HU]
  • Vivir al límite - [AR]
  • 危機倒數 - [TW]
  • ハート・ロッカー - [JP]
  • En tierra hostil - [ES]
  • Atrapados en Irak - [BO]
  • Войната е опиат - [BG]

The Hurt Locker Reviews

  • The work of a master filmmaker
    by krigler on 18 March 2009

    778 out of 1244 people found the following review useful:

    The Hurt Locker is a serious character study and a taut, suspenseful action thriller at once.

    The subject matter itself - the work of a bomb expert, possibly one of the most nerve-racking jobs on the planet - yields most of the suspense but Bigelow manages to squeeze out every bit of tension of the premise.

    This film to me was very apolitical - though set in Iraq, it is distinguished from most of the Iraq-themed war films in that it concentrates much more on the job itself than the political environment. Iraq seemed more like a backdrop - any other war would do, The Hurt Locker does not preach about this one specifically.

    The story is deeply emotional, depicting a thoroughly disturbed individual's life in hell. Jeremy Renner gives an incredibly powerful performance as an EOD officer completely hooked on adrenaline stemming from his everyday close shaves with death.

    All aspects of film-making are top-notch, from the brilliantly subversive screenplay through vivid cinematography, masterful directing and perfectly paced editing.

    In its storytelling the filmmakers wisely break with traditional Hollywood narrative techniques. There is no clear antagonist, no rising action, no obvious character development and no climax. And yet the film manages to be more interesting, tense and suspenseful than any Hollywood action thriller I've seen in years while making a powerful, yet subtle statement about the insane addiction that is war. Kudos for everyone involved for making this film without compromising.

    This is pure quality, cinematic storytelling at its best, a thinking man's actioner.

  • The Brilliant Explosion Of Kathryn Bigelow
    by carlostallman on 28 June 2009

    783 out of 1266 people found the following review useful:

    I spent the entire film grabbing the arms of my seat. I was there in Irak, steps away from my death and the death of those around me. The tension, the suspense is at times breathtaking, literally. "The Hurt Locker" is a miracle and the definitive consecration of a great filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow. This is also a rare occasion in which I went to see the film without having read a single review or knowing anything about it. One should try to do that more often because the impact of the surprise translates into pure pleasure and in this case, sometimes, you have to look away from the unmitigated horror. Jeremy Renner is a real find. He is superb. A kind soul, wild man with enough arrogance to make him appear reckless and yet his humanity precedes him. People may commit the mistake of avoiding this gem thinking that it's just a war film. Don't. It isn't. It's a great, engrossing film about human emotions, not to be missed.

  • A Perfectly Shattering Film Going Experience
    by agmancuso on 28 June 2009

    681 out of 1070 people found the following review useful:

    Kathryn Bigelow concocts a masterpiece of a film without tricks or gimmicks, at least none to be detected and that in itself is a triumph. Realistic yet poetic like the works of the great masters. It enters and fits a genre and at the same time is unique, unexpected. It shutters, moves and alters every sense, like a powerful drug. I saw it last night and I'm going to see it again tonight. Last night Jeremy Remmer came to speak to the audience in a face to face moderated by Sam Rockwell, great idea but it change my perception of Remmer in the film, of his character. Although he praised Kathryn Bigelow, he said things like "I don't tell her how to direct and she doesn't tell me how to act" Watching the film I felt that childish arrogance belonged to the character by his personal appearance showed it belonged to the actor. In any case, it works on the screen. A character you warm up to almost immediately in spite of his contradictions. Remmer will remind you at times of Robert Redford and others of Michael J Pollard. He is truly terrific so try to avoid his personal appearances not to contaminate that impression. The rest of the cast works wonders and the brief cameos by Guy Pearce and Ralph Finnes are the most organic and unobtrusive cameos I've ever seen in my life. All in all extraordinary. I predict, even if we're only in June, that Kathryn Bigelow risks to be the first female director to win the Academy Award. She certainly got my vote.

  • Kathryn Bigelow's Masterpiece
    by The_Fifth_Echo on 17 June 2010

    513 out of 761 people found the following review useful:

    I am truly sadden that this film got bashed so much. I hear reviews saying this film "sucks" or it has too many inaccuracies. Movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List have also "some" inaccuracies in them. (They are Masterpieces) It is pretty sad this film has been getting this bashed. It doesn't deserve to be.

    The Hurt Locker is full of suspense and is directed beautifully by Kathryn Bigelow. I'd have to say this is movie truly captures the Iraq War. What a dangerous war it was for our soldiers. This movie shows us what our soldiers went through. This isn't bashing the American soldiers at all or even War. It gives us a great deal of appreciation for our troops who are risking their lives every single day for Us, Freedom and the U.S.A.

    The true purpose of this movie is to not just praise the soldiers. But for one of the military's unrecognized heroes which are the technicians of the bombs squads who risk their lives to save others. This is the purpose of the movie to let everyone know what these people do.

    This time and I know all of you out there, don't want to hear it, the critics are actually right. This movie is fantastically directed by Kathryn Bigelow and she rightfully deserved her Oscar for best director.

    I know many Avatar fans out there probably rated this movie a 1, without even seeing it because it won Best Picture and Avatar didn't. This movie seems its suffering from the curse of Best Picture. More people have watched Avatar than the Hurt Locker. So of course this film has gotten bashed by so many. I think SOME of the bad reviews are the Avatar Fanboys who are just angry Avatar didn't win Best Picture.

    Please don't just go along with the bad reviews this film has gotten from IMDb. Just try and watch this film.

    The Hurt Locker is a war epic, that I hope it becomes appreciative as time passes. 9/10 Highly recommended.

  • Are you Kidding Me??? This movie SUCKS
    by JP on 6 August 2009

    841 out of 1474 people found the following review useful:

    For the life of me I can not understand the blind hype and devotion to this totally unbelievable movie......and I think I have the qualifications to say so.... I am a former Special Operations soldier with 14 years in the "lifestyle" ... This movie was totally totally unreal and obviously written by someone that did very little research into life in the Army, in combat or at a team or platoon level.

    Three EOD guys trouncing around Bagdad on their own????? Get Real... No chain of command????? Get Real... EOD clearing buildings??? Get Real....EOD/ Military Intelligence / Sniper qualified buck sergeant???? Get Real.... Wait... I shot and killed a bad guy and then let two guys take me without firing another shot or being injured at all???? Get Real....I carjack an Iraqi civilian, while I am only armed with a 9 mil, break into another civilians house, get punked by his wife then make it back to camp on foot in the middle of Bagdad at night without as so much as a scratch or confrontation???? Get Real...

    There is absolutely no adherence to military protocol {Army} and no resemblance at all to any Army unit that I have even encountered. Totally unbelievable and disrespectful to the men and women of EOD who contrary to this poor film are not wild adrenaline seeking yahoos but extremely qualified professionals doing an incredibly hard job.

  • TIFF 2008: The Hurt Locker - World class war-action cinema
    by ( on 10 September 2008

    491 out of 806 people found the following review useful:

    Simply put, action ace Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" is a near masterpiece of suspense and unrelenting intensity.

    Her first film since 2002's "K-19: The Widowmaker," The Hurt Locker is definitely a return to form from the director of probably the greatest (in this man's humble opinion) surfer-action movie of all time "Point Break." The film follows Bravo company, a team of bomb technicians situated right in the heart of the Iraq war's modern IED warfare. Jeremy Renner, mostly known for impressive performances in "S.W.A.T" and "The Assassination of Jesse James," gives his most riveting performance yet as the lead, Staff Sergeant William James, a reckless but brilliant soldier who has taken down almost 850 bombs.

    What separates this film from the bulk of mainstream cinema that has tackled the Iraqi situation is that it doesn't simply exist as a political polemic, or even a reminder of the humanitarian horrors that plague the Iraqi people.

    Instead, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal give us a story that transcends politics and can be seen as almost a straight up kick-ass action pic. The film is plotted by increasingly dangerous and fully realized defusion sequences, all of which were shot from beginning to end in single takes with DOP Barry Ackroyd's cameras continuously roving around set in order to create a tense realism that translates well to the screen.

    Very elaborate attention to detail and mise-en-scene is in every frame of the pic, with Bigelow choosing to shoot in Jordan and locations being less than 10 KM away from the Iraqi border. And from a searing heat wave ranging up to 49C to actual Iraqi refugees used as extras to impeccable sound design and special guest cameos by Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes, Bigelow has succeeded in creating an entirely memorable and visceral experience that will surely leave its mark in the pantheon of the very best war spectacles put to film.

  • What the heck??? Best picture? Not even close!
    by Katie28217 on 5 March 2010

    296 out of 438 people found the following review useful:

    As usual, I am making a mad dash to see the movies I haven't watched yet in anticipation of the Oscars. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie as it seemed to be right up my alley. I can not for the life of me understand why this movie has gotten the buzz it has. There is no story!! A group of guys meander around Iraq. One day they are here diffusing a bomb. Tomorrow they are tooling around the countryside, by themselves no less and start taking sniper fire. No wait here they are back in Bagdad. There is no cohesive story at all. The three main characters are so overly characterized that they are mere caricatures. By that I mean, we have the sweet kid who is afraid of dying. We have the hardened military man who is practical and just wants to get back safe. And then we have the daredevil cowboy who doesn't follow the rules but has a soft spot for the precocious little Iraqi boy trying to sell soldiers DVDs. What do you think is going to happen??? Well, do you think the cowboy soldier who doesn't follow rules is going to get the sweet kid injured with his renegade ways?? Why yes! Do you think the Iraqi kid that cowboy soldier has a soft spot for is going to get killed and make him go crazy? Why yes! There is no story here. The script is juvenile and predictable! The camera is shaken around a lot to make it look "artsy". And for all of you who think this is such a great war picture, go rent "Full Metal Jacket", "Deerhunter" or "Platoon". Don't waste time or money on this boring movie!

  • Strong contender for best movie of 2009
    by Dogwhiz on 15 August 2010

    259 out of 381 people found the following review useful:

    Quite easily the best movie of 2009 and the best war movie since Black Hawk Down and maybe even beyond that, The Hurt Locker does something that few other war movies seem to be able to do. Rather than focusing on rapid-action combat scenes and the oh-so-emotional mental breakdowns that all soldiers seem to dramatically endure in Hollywood (Platoon, much?), it emphasizes the relationships of soldiers and the intensity of everyday living in Iraq– intensity that doesn't diminish when the guns are holstered. And that's where you'll see the real difference.

    The film introduces a seemingly new and unique idea by following a U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team as they go around defusing potential bombs all around town– a concept that allows the typical fast-action war theme to take a backseat to the dramatic intensity of the three team members' escapades and arguments. It's all about survival and this time around, it's the calm, isolated atmosphere and the feeling of never being truly safe that creates the ever-present suspense. The exceptional editing is partially to thank for such constant energy and pace. Quick transitions ensure that there is never a dull moment and the audience is always thrust into the middle of the action. Plus, director Kathryn Bigelow employed some amazing cinematography (thanks to Barry Ackroyd, United 93) and some of the best shaky hand-held-cam and zoom work I've seen yet. It seems that, for some, this might be a turn-off, but personally, I believe those who complain about shaky cam need to take a closer look at its purpose and realize that it's far more effective in establishing a documentary-like feel for raw and engaging films such as this one.

    The interaction between the soldiers is a key point of the film and the entire project is clearly intended to be largely character-driven. You will more than likely find yourself sympathizing with all of the main characters at some point and several others along the way. More than just observing a character's breakdown at the scene of war such as in films like Jarhead, The Hurt Locker immerses the viewer in the world of the characters themselves and practically forces you to care for them– and I mean that in the best way possible. And perhaps the difference is also partially distinguished by the quality of acting. And if there's anyone who deserves recognition for their acting, it's most certainly Jeremy Renner, who surprises with a top-notch performance as Staff Sergeant William James. His performance will have you laughing at bits of humor scattered throughout, gasping in disbelief at one point, shedding a sympathetic tear at another, and yelling at him in exasperation in yet another scene. The characters are never two-dimensional and the film always manages to provide constant reminders that all of the soldiers are just normal people in war situations, driving its purpose home even more effectively. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are impressive in their own roles and share great chemistry both with each other and with Renner. The relationships between the three follow no stereotyped guidelines and their interactions are almost always unpredictable. Further down the billing, Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes also give solid performances worth mentioning.

    Overall, The Hurt Locker is a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through and packs a visual and cinematographic punch without the over-the-top Hollywood action scenes and special effects. While the storyline may be inaccurate when it comes to certain little details (as many war vets have noted), it's a unique one and allows for much more realistic and well-rounded characters. You'll walk away with your heart still beating fast for a good while after the credits roll and it'll make you think for an even further extended period of time. Everything about its design and execution will stick with you.

    --The Motion Picture Underground

  • Completely, absolutely, totally inaccurate. Pathetically ignorant
    by hughva on 28 January 2010

    387 out of 640 people found the following review useful:

    I'm a huge fan of war movies, and, as a Vietnam combat vet, have some experience with the technical details. I worked with the bomb guys more than once and have nothing but respect for them. Other vets, and Iraq vets in particular, have summarized the inaccuracies in this movie very well. Poetic license is one thing, but this movie is a complete fantasy, and fails badly because of it. No bomb disposal unit, or any unit, would ever have tolerated this rogue operator for more than 5 minutes. Military units prize conformity and discipline for a reason;it saves lives. The opening scene particularly annoyed me. The guy with the cell phone would have been shot immediately. Yelling, "Stop dialing" is not an effective deterrent. It got worse from there. The scenes with the sniper were particularly egregious. As others have noted, your average EOD guy doesn't know jack about being a sniper, and to think any Arab sniper is that good really stretches the imagination. Kidnapping an Arab businessman for some form of personal revenge just wouldn't happen. Somebody might shoot him, but this kind of risk-taking is limited to the movies. I could go on, but, as I said, others have pointed these things out in detail. This is not a good movie, and if it wins any awards at all, it's a further reflection of why "La La land" is so named.

  • An engrossing film that takes one's breath away.
    by I B on 12 August 2010

    235 out of 350 people found the following review useful:

    Here we have one of the best films of the last decade. A war film that succeeds in showing what it's like to be in the armed forces nowadays. It was directed be the underrated Kathryn Bigelow. The focus is on American soldiers in the Iraq war. But it's not about them being involved in assaults or shootouts. Instead we're shown the lives of a bomb squad. Jeremy Renner is commanding as Sergeant First Class William James. He provides an excellent performance. So do Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty as his partners. They really do act like real soldiers. The Hurt Locker consists of a series of bomb threats that the team have to overcome. These are all thrilling, tense. What makes the film really shine, however, is its anti-war messages. In the tradition of Apocalypse Now (1979) and Come And See (1985) The Hurt Locker shows that people get hurt and killed in wars, even if they don't deserve it. It shows that the victims are just like anyone else except that they're in a war zone. The film doesn't directly criticize the American war effort. There are no discussions about whether the Iraq war is moral or immoral. Bigelow's direction is truly impressive. She certainly knows how to work with actors. The acting is obviously superb, and this is the film's greatest strength. Also notable is the cinematography by Barry Ackroyd. The war hasn't looked this realistic or this interesting in cinema until The Hurt Locker. The images captured are thoughtful and memorable. No wonder the film was the big winner at the 2010 Academy Awards. Some films that win Best Picture don't deserve it, but The Hurt Locker sure did deserve it. It's one of the best war films ever, and I highly recommend it.

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