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2000s, Combat - Iraq

The Hurt Locker (2008)

hurtlocker

Elevator Pitch

When bomb disposal expert Staff Sergeant William James takes over as head of a team dealing with IEDs after the death of their former leader, the team find themselves being exposed to a higher level of risk as he goes against formal protocols to make bombs safe in the dangerous urban areas of Baghdad. After James finds a body of a boy which has been booby trapped and thinks it is that of a youth who he has befriended back in the camp, he risks his own life and that of his support as he seeks vengeance.

Content

The film consists of a succession of set pieces as James and his support are confronted with bombs of different types in a variety of locations. Hence almost continuous tension as he wonders whether to cut the red wire or the green one. At one time they come across some Brits who are being killed by sniper fire and take over their operation. There are scenes in the camp where some drinking takes place, and time spent with Sargeant James back in the US as he hankers to get back into the war.

A View

This is a very watchable, if slightly depressing film, which won six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. But it was and maybe still is the lowest grossing winner of the Best Film award ever. Iraq veterans have been critical of it and even I, with no military experience, felt that some of the actions of the team leader were far from what a trained soldier would actually do. Playing to the gallery the script presents the officers as being a bit naïve and the British mercenaries as being stupid, apparently not even being able to change a flat tyre. But still worth a watch for nothing in 2019.

Duration 2h 11m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An original screenplay
Director Kathryn Bigelow
Writers/Script Mark Boal
Starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pierce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly
Additional Info Filming took place in summer in Jordan, at some points very close to the border with Iraq, where, in 2008, US military were still faced with snipers and IEDs.

 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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