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The Hurt Locker
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The Hurt Locker More at IMDbPro »

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196 out of 343 people found the following review useful:

Yeah right

5/10
Author: adrongardner from USA
11 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a tough one. How do I review this movie? Is it an action flick? Is it a war flick? Or is the Hurt Locker a social comment on the Iraq experience?

While some will claim the movie is all three of those things, I personally don't know the answer and after watching the Hurt Locker I'm quite sure neither does director Kathryn Bigelow.

The Hurt Locker is a movie full of all the right intentions, a lot of competent actors, and many many camera setups. But there is not one powerful scene, not one notable performance and not a single memorable image for all its two hours of run time.

We follow a group of U.S. Soldiers, but it feels like they are the only group in all of Baghdad. Intentional or budgetary restraints? We roam the anarchic streets of Baghdad (which, credit to the filmmakers, actually feels like a real Arab country. And after seeing the movie, I learned they went all the way to Jordan. Bravo, as the setting actually feels authentic.) We disarm a lot of bombs and enter many uncertain doorways. While the movie aims to be exciting, I just couldn't "suspend disbelief" when the director is trying so hard to be realistic by shaking the camera so much. And why can't a troupe of former British SAS officers handle a handful of insurgents in an empty cinder block shed. I call shenanigans.

OK I understand the idea of dramatic license, but there is no way a former SAS sharpshooter is going to miss a shot, die from a window sniper half a mile away and an American G.I. will save the day taking over on the guy's Barrett .50 cal.. I'm not putting anybody down here, but I would bet most people with some sort of know will be with me in saying "Yeah Right." This scene is a poster child for the movie at large - like most of the movie, makes little sense and very little is rooted in any sort of reality. But the camera shakes so its oh so real! Quite frankly I laughed my butt off in the sequence.

Dude, she made Point Break...POINT BREAK! How could you expect any different? If you haven't figured it out by this point, Kathryn Bigelow isn't going into the books as one of the greats. From what I read, the crew shot endless setups to get a "documentary feel." Well as a documentary photographer I can tell you, to document something, you only really need one camera. The rest depends on vision. Something Kathryn Bigelow doesn't have.

The script is laughable, the characters forgettable, and the direction completely platitudinous, the only Hurt Locker is the seat you're stuck in until this turkey plays itself out.

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206 out of 364 people found the following review useful:

Did I Miss Something????

3/10
Author: red_jacket0707 from United Kingdom
19 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

watch a team of bomb disposal experts in Iraq count down their time before they can go home.

That in itself sounds boring. Every time that little caption came up telling us how long they had left, it just caused this film with no plot to drag on and on. hurry up and finish your time there so we can all go home.

I must be missing something. I'm a great fan of war films if they are done well. This had "jarhead" syndrome. A film that at times was beautifully shot, but cinematography doesn't stop it from being totally dull and pointless.

And get over the slow mo "cartridges coming out of the gun" shot already. they could have saved money and just got stock footage from any other film with a gun in it.

I didn't have any empathy for the main guy in it, i was constantly hoping that his recklessness would cause him to die. In fact the film would have worked much better if he had.

I read some reviews and seemed to get the feeling that those who had been in the armed forces disliked it, and everyone else loved it. I have never been in the forces, and I'm with them. It's pretentious drivel. the 3 stars are for the cinematography.

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319 out of 591 people found the following review useful:

Expected more

1/10
Author: plknowles from United Kingdom
7 February 2010

This film did not disappoint.. What I mean is I was expecting a gun ho American war film and this is what we got. No realism at all. Anyone behaving in the way that the main character did would be severely disciplined. Nothing seemed real. You can't just play on the tension thing (which there was none) and expect to get away with it.

This is a poor film. I got bored very quick.

I should have known at the start when the wheel (literally) came off the wagon. Professionals would have checked, checked again and then for good measure checked again.

It was comical seeing it happen. I served in the British army in Northern Ireland and oversaw many bomb disposal incidents and none went with the disfuctionality of what we saw in this film.

Then it goes and wins the Oscars and Baftas. Those of you who think this film shows what bomb disposal is all about need a serious reality check. This film is an insult to the real people who have to do this job. Shameful

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367 out of 687 people found the following review useful:

Too many inaccuracies and shakycam, too little character

3/10
Author: doughelo from Los Angeles, CA
28 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really wanted to like this movie, but ended up bored and incredulous. The first shot is a camera feed from a robot traveling towards a bomb and is, naturally, shaky. But then the rest of the movie stays in shakycam mode, even during quiet conversational moments, to the point of ridiculousness. Have the rental houses run out of tripods and Steadicams? The fact that it was shot on 16mm doesn't help, as the entire movie is grainy as well as shaky.

For all the effort Bigelow put into accurate vehicles and equipment, there are enough glaring errors and inconsistencies that they undermine the movie's credibility.

- A car would not erupt in flames after a single shot, and once engulfed would not be extinguished by a small hand-held extinguisher.

- A single Humvee would not be driving around Baghdad in 2004, but would be backed up by other vehicles in case of breakdown or attack. - It would be exceptionally unlikely to be able to hit a running insurgent at long range, where the bullet is clearly taking over a second to reach the target.

- I believe bombs were brought to designated disposal areas on or near a base, not some random spot in the middle of the desert.

- The oil tanker attack is stated to have occurred in the Green Zone, a highly secure area that experienced very few attacks from within. The zone is mostly offices and palaces with few residences, yet it is portrayed as a dangerous warren of dark alleys and lurking insurgents. Oddly, James never gets in trouble for the ridiculous tactic of ordering his two companions to each take an alley by themselves, thus setting up the attempted kidnapping.

- Speaking of which, the 3-man team is always depicted clearing buildings, chasing insurgents etc. on their own, even when there are clearly dozens of soldiers right there.

- How many hours does the team have to stare at a dead insurgent hanging out a window to figure out he's not faking it?

There were no establishing shots to show the viewer what the size and layout of the base was or where Baghdad was in relation. I had no idea who the EOD team reported to, nor were any other characters fleshed out. These are things the characters would know, so we should too.

Many of the "surprises" and scenes are perfectly predictable. Yes, it's obvious that the psychiatrist colonel will get into trouble with the Iraqis he's trying to move along, that the choice of cereals back home will be overwhelming, and that a driver you kidnapped will not wait for you when you leave the vehicle.

Finally, there was an almost complete lack of character development. Renner's character from the beginning has a troubled relationship at home, is reckless and addicted to adrenalin. He's exactly the same at the end of the movie. What's the point?

If this is indeed the best so far of the Iraqi war movies, it's a sorry bunch. Just based on the half hour I saw of it, I'd recommend Generation Kill on HBO instead.

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477 out of 911 people found the following review useful:

Just like the war it portrays, this film lacks direction, focus and clarity of purpose.

6/10
Author: Cinemadharma from Boulder, Colorado
13 January 2010

This is a different kind of war movie for a different kind of war that ultimately fails in the same ways the war fails - in that it lacks a singular focus, it has no direction or goal, and the purpose is not clear. It's not a bad movie, I just couldn't find anything to connect to or engage with - and when a moment would arise in which I thought that thing to connect to was coming... it didn't.

The film drags along at a snail's pace at times, which works for some scenes, such as a great scene wherein the main characters are pinned down for several hours by insurgents in the middle of the desert - but mostly the slowness just feels slow. There is no real story here, yet it isn't just a docudrama, either. It doesn't seem to know what kind of a movie it is, or from which characters' view point it is being told. In my opinion the story that it started to tell (and would have made it a much more interesting film) was of the drug-like addictive nature of high risk behavior, and how people who engage in that sort of thing in war will return to civilian life only to find other dangerous, high risk behavior to engage in... which is not dissimilar thematically to another of director Kathryn Bigelow's films, "Point Break". Alas, it seemed as if she forgot about that angle halfway thru the film. The worst part of the film is the ending, which after 125 minutes of slow pacing suddenly races past what should have and could have given the film its purpose.

If I had seen this film back when it first came out, I think I would have said, "OK. A well-acted, decent film despite its problems." The thought that this film would be nominated for and would win so many major awards, including being the front runner for any Oscar whatsoever -- would not have even crossed my mind, and it is mindboggling to me now that that is the case.

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269 out of 497 people found the following review useful:

Inaccurate overrated movie

Author: Craig Barron (countvonbarron) from Colorado
25 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off let my start by saying that I am a 3 time veteran of Iraq. This has been called the "definitive" Iraq film. Is is not. The definitive Iraq film has yet to be made and probably won't ever be made. It always amazes my how the critics laud the inaccuracies in these films and call them "masterpieces". To us vets, however they are as phony as can be. To cite just 4 examples of what is wrong with this movie: 1. When the lead character Sergeant James encounters a car bomb filled with explosives he immediately removes his protective suit and begins to rummage around looking for the trigger wire. I have met EOD guys and have a lot of respect for them but I know for a fact that they WOULD NEVER EVER DO THIS. If any self respecting EOD soldier did that he would be court- martialed. No soldier would ever remove all his gear especially in the middle of a city. The critics showed his as being brave but this was plain out stupidity. 2. When James encounters the body of a young Iraqi boy he had befriended and sees that explosives have been placed in his abdomen, he attempts to find out who killed him. He does this in the most implausible way possible. He gets into the car of an Iraqi merchant dressed only in his fatigues and with no gear on points a pistol at his head and orders him to drive him to what he thinks is the boys house. Upon arrival there he finds nothing so what does he do then? He WALKS ALL THE WAY BACK FROM THE HOUSE TO HIS BASE WITH NO PROTECTIVE GEAR IN THE MIDDLE OF BAGHDAD AT NIGHT AND NO ONE NOTICES HIM?! This defies belief. Again no soldier would ever or has ever in 6 years in Iraq ever done this. It could not happen. 3. After defusing the car bomb his fellow soldier a subordinate punches him for taking off his radio headset. In real life that soldier would be done. He struck a superior?! No way. 4. During a climactic battle sequence the aforementioned soldier takes off his helmet while firing a sniper rifle. Again this would never happen. 5. Last but not least at the end of the movie the lead character has returned to Iraq after an unspecified amount of time at home. The scene shows him walking towards another bomb with his suit on. The caption reads " Days left in Alpha company's rotation-365. This is also wrong as all soldiers coming to Iraq train at least 2 weeks in Kuwait and this is counted as part of your year there.

At the end of the movie the credits list the main character as a Staff Sergeant but in the movie he is wearing the rank of Sergeant First Class. This may have been an intentional error but it is still an error.

When "Apocalypse Now" came out critics called it a masterpiece, the definitive Vietnam movie. Vets I talked to however said by and large it was garbage phony as hell. It wasn't until "Platoon" came out that the vets were pleased. "Platoon" was written directed by Oliver Stone who was a veteran. To me it is the definitive Vietnam movie. I believe when and if the definitive film about the current conflict comes out it will be made by a veteran someone who really knows what went on over here. I believe this film does not portray these soldiers heroically but rather as gung-ho reckless cowboys. The real heroism displayed by these guys every day is not shown at all. Hollywood owes it to us veterans to make a film that is honest about this war and not resort to phony heroism when there is plenty of real heroism out there every day. "The Hurt Locker" is well acted and well made but utterly preposterous and not a realistic portrayal at all.

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82 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

Overrated and Underwritten

3/10
Author: cariboolean from Hollywood
8 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well I too had heard read all the breathless reviews and comments about how this movie might deserve the Best Picture Oscar so I went to see it today. What a major disappointment! 1) If you read the other reviews you will learn from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq how unlikely the events of this movie are. They mirrored my own thoughts; as the movie played I - a complete civilian - kept thinking to myself, "say WHAT? there's no way that would happen like that.." 2) There's very little that actually happens in terms of plot. A new bomb disposal guy shows up to replace one who was killed (a death that isn't really clearly explained). The new guy gets an adrenaline rush from his work. His attitude puts others at risk. THAT'S IT! 3) This movie is nowhere near as suspenseful as claimed. If you want suspense try one of the Bourne movies. If you want to see a war movie that's emotionally powerful, try renting Go Tell The Spartans, which is about the Vietnam War, and stars Burt Lancaster (who told me PERSONALLY in a serendipitous supermarket encounter that it was a film he was immensely proud of and one he viewed as some of his finest work, and which he was still upset had been largely ignored in the wake of the over-hyped Apocalypse Now), or an old WWII black and white classic Sink The Bismark, which, especially for an English film, is unbelievably heart-wrenching. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON Hurt Locker.

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44 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Offensive, to put it mildly

1/10
Author: lolatengo from Canada
7 May 2010

I have to add my voice to the list of people who really disliked this movie. Imagine a German director making a movie in 1948. Imagine the director asking us to feel sympathy for the soldiers because it was very cold in Russia. (I'm not saying that the United States is a perfect analogy to Nazi Germany, because that would be a grotesque exaggeration.) I actually do have sympathy for all of those young Germans who lost their lives in WWII. But the rest of the world would be appalled to find that this was the take-home message from World War II for the Germans. Bigelow asks her viewers to feel this very emotion for Americans in Iraq.

If there were other scenes that provided a different take on the situation, the hot desert scene would be insignificant. But every Iraqi in the movie is used simply to show how sensitive an American is, or how afraid an American is, etc. The Iraqis are allowed no existence of their own, they are simply plot devices. Don't America's major critics see this?

Some have said that this movie isn't political. By this, they seem to mean that it doesn't criticize the war. This movie is in fact deeply political in that it completely objectifies the "enemy," and glorifies war as a potentially exciting escape from domesticity.

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126 out of 219 people found the following review useful:

Really??!! 7.8??!!

3/10
Author: Rossco Cheesefeet the Third from Northern Ireland
29 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

COULD CONTAIN SPOILERS.....I'm surprised by the high rating of this film to be honest..really am. All I saw was a slow moving propaganda movie with nothing much to say. (Note to self must check the rating for Platoon on here)This movie was so black and white...Americans good...anyone else either evil or useless. I take it the British troops in it were meant to be SAS (one of the most elite units in the world most would agree with I'm pretty sure) they lost 3 men and the others ran away while the US troops who weren't even Elite soldiers in the fighting sense held the ground and opened up a can of whoop ass on them evil sneaky Iraqis. Aye dead-on strings to mind. The only good thing I have to say about this movie did come in this sense when the sniper took out the SAS man...muzzle flash from distance, good noise used...really well done that bit but the rest...Spare me what am I 10 years of age over here??!! Well I'm not and can see nonsense propaganda in a movie and boy did this movie have it.

SPOILER...Oh aye and in the main crazy,wild guy can't stay at home with his wife and young child..no he has to sign up for another year to fight in a nonsense lie of a war!! Why...because young men need thrills or something apparently. Like say I'm surprised by the high rating of this movie really am.

P.S. I'm not hating America I'm hating the message of this movie that seems to not even want to confront issues of an illegal war (in my eyes) which OK fair enough because clearly there are people out there who think it's a just war for whatever messed up reason (wanted to say something else her but censored) but hey that's up to them. But to churn out a movie so one-sided like it's black and white...good v evil is lazy and treating me as a child. In war there is a lot of grey and it's two (sometimes more)sides who believe in what they are fighting for. Not Star Wars with something something dark side verses the goodies. F' sake Hollywood at times you really do take people for mugs...then again 7.8....well maybe you are right to but I'll not be buying it. Glad I downloaded this movie tell you all that for nothing. ;)

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251 out of 470 people found the following review useful:

Presented in Shaky-Vision

2/10
Author: Brent Trafton from Long Beach, CA
13 February 2010

I am definitely in the minority opinion on this one. "The Hurt Locker" has won more "Best Picture" awards from the critic groups than any other film this year. However, not only did I not like it, I found it hard to sit through.

There is minimal plot and little character development. They disarm bombs, fight, and disarm more bombs. That is the entire movie.

But the worst part was that the camera never stops moving and is constantly shaking. This has been a recent fad in film making and it is supposed to make it seem more real because it has a cheap, documentary look to it. The camera was shaking so much it was making me nauseous to look at the screen.

I normally don't care for war movies and "The Hurt Locker" was no exception. But you don't need to take my word for it because the critics love it.

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