The Hurt Locker

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow to be as realistic as possible of the combat experienced by Americans in the Iraq War, The Hurt Locker focuses primarily on a bomb squad in 2004 as the insurgency was trying to annoy GIs as if an embedded journalist were there. Titles occasionally indicate the number of days before the company’s tour of duty ends. Staff Sergeant William James (played by Jeremy Renner), the expert called upon to defuse bombs, demonstrates his ability on several occasions. The unit also encounters friendly and hostile fire. Iraqis, called Hajis, are treated honorably. Sergeant JT Sanborn (played by Anthony Mackie), at first does not want children until he is “ready,” but undergoes an epiphany about having a son after he is wounded. Unlike Platoon, members of the unit do not do drugs to unwind; instead, they gulp down alcohol. Although nothing in the dialog indicates that The Hurt Locker is an anti-war film, the graphic scenes may be unsettling even though bloodshed is kept to a minimum. The final day of duty arrives and beyond, and filmviewers will be amazed at what comes next. The Political Film Society has nominated The Hurt Locker for an award as best film exposé of 2009. The realism about dangerous battlefield conditions warrants a nomination as well for best film on peace, as the effect of the gore is to serve as an anti-war film without propaganda. MH