7.6/10
396,989
936 user 394 critic

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Director:

Kathryn Bigelow

Writer:

Mark Boal
Reviews
Popularity
976 ( 176)
Won 6 Oscars. Another 118 wins & 128 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Argo (2012)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Mumbai teenager reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla
Crash I (2004)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis
Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
The Artist I (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood's silent era.

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Rain Man (1988)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Spotlight I (2015)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Renner ... Staff Sergeant William James
Anthony Mackie ... Sergeant JT Sanborn
Brian Geraghty ... Specialist Owen Eldridge
Guy Pearce ... Sergeant Matt Thompson
Ralph Fiennes ... Contractor Team Leader
David Morse ... Colonel Reed
Evangeline Lilly ... Connie James
Christian Camargo ... Colonel John Cambridge
Suhail Dabbach ... Black Suit Man (as Suhail Al-Dabbach)
Christopher Sayegh Christopher Sayegh ... Beckham
Nabil Koni Nabil Koni ... Professor Nabil
Sam Spruell ... Contractor Charlie
Sam Redford Sam Redford ... Contractor Jimmy
Feisal Sadoun Feisal Sadoun ... Contractor Feisal
Barrie Rice Barrie Rice ... Contractor Chris
Edit

Storyline

An intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge, by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat, behaving as if he's indifferent to death. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James' true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever. Written by BWR Public Relations

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

War is a drug. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

31 July 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hurt Locker See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$145,352, 28 June 2009

Gross USA:

$17,017,811

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,230,772
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

As of 2018, this film has won the most Academy Awards (six) by a Best Picture winning film ever since the increase in number of Best Picture nominated films to more than five for the 82nd Academy Awards. See more »

Goofs

Several close-up shots of Eldridge with his M4 are flipped. The forward assist is on the left side of the M4 in those shots; in reality, they are on the right side of the receiver. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant JT Sanborn: I'm not ready to die, James.
Staff Sergeant William James: Well, you're not gonna die out here, bro.
Sergeant JT Sanborn: Another two inches, shrapnel zings by, slices my throat, I bleed out like a pig in the sand. Nobody'll give a shit. I mean my parents - they care - but they don't count, man. Who else? I don't even have a son.
Staff Sergeant William James: Well, you're gonna have plenty of time for that, amigo.
Sergeant JT Sanborn: Naw, man.
Staff Sergeant William James: You know?
Sergeant JT Sanborn: I'm done. I want a son. I want a little boy, Will. I mean, how do you do it, you know? Take the risk?
Staff Sergeant William James: I-I don't know. I mean, I just, uh... I ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits, not even a title. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Your Smiling Face
Written by Gerhard Narholz (as Norman Candler)
Performed by The Norman Candler Strings
Courtesy of APM Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.""--Chris Hedges.
17 July 2009 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

Already celebrated for its breathtaking realism in depicting soldiers and explosions, The Hurt Locker is being called "the best Iraq war movie," with the qualification that the genre has been weak and the public response weaker. This is Kathryn Bigelow all right: macho men in dazzling exploits, exhilarating and always a little terrifying to watch, with adrenalin and testosterone spurting off the screen. If war is a drug, this movie could give you a contact high. Bigelow was obviously born to make a war movie. The only question is why she took this long to do so. Writer Mark Boal led her into it. He embedded with a bomb squad in Iraq, and came back with remarkable stories and a character to hold them together. He's Staff Sergeant William James, who's what in the genteel days of The English Patient was more commonly called a "sapper," a combat engineer who specializes in demolitions, minefields, and the like. Bigelow wisely chose Jeremy Renner, an unknown and unglamorous actor, for this pleasingly enigmatic role of a man who may be closer to bombs and timers than to his own comrades.

The Hurt Locker (soldier slang for a real bad place) gives you immediacy and vérité soldier life, with the shaky digital camera and in-and-out zooms of the genre (the action is so good, we soon forget them, while in Brian De Palms's crude 2007 Redacted, they grate all through). Such authenticity is achieved in Brit documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield's more political, excellent, little seen, low-budget 2005 drama The Battle for Haditha. It may not make his film unbiased, but Broomfield most notably gives more detail of the Iraqi P.O.V. -- using real Iraqis -- while Bigelow sticks to showing Iraqis as the American soldiers experience them -- an experience that turns out to be insane, paranoia-inducing, and scary. (In both movies one of the few friendly forms of contact is buying and selling pirated DVD's, the US soldiers buying, the Iraqis selling, and in both this contact becomes a key plot element.) Obviously Bigelow also had a much bigger budget, the better to provide a wealth of spectacular explosions, essential (or justified anyway) since this is about a small team of three men whose main (but by no means only) job is to find and defuse improvised explosive devices (IED's), the DIY but sometimes highly ingenious signature weapons of the Iraqi insurgency. There is also a horrifying body bomb; a complicated and lethal car bomb in front of a UN building; a suicide bomber who has a change of heart (as in Hany Abu-Assad's 2005 Paradise Now); and a hairy firefight with snipers (and a somewhat obtrusive cameo by Ralph Fiennes) out in the desert. Besides which the adrenalin-numbed Sergeant James independently gets himself and his two squad members, Sergeant JT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), into various private and probably unnecessary severe crap storms. All of this is staged with stunning accomplishment and a strong focus on character and the interactions, intense even when alienated, of these three men.

The movie takes no political stand, other than Hedges' "war is a drug." This is like the point of view of Andrew Swoford used for Sam Mendes' 2005 Jarhead, which, however unsuccessful in some aspects and poorly received, conveys that soldiers don't question war because they're too busy doing dangerous jobs, or waiting and hoping to do them, and trying to stay alive till, God willing, their tour ends.

The Hurt Locker is episodic and cyclical. It ends where it begins, with the protagonist joining a new team of strangers for another tour. Thanks to Boal's writing, Bigelow's fine directing, and an excellent cast, the episodes never seem routine or repetitive. But if you emerge with a sense of numbing danger and pointlessness that may not be inappropriate. The only structure is the routine one of datelines saying how many days are left in Bravo company's tour. But this is a figure that, as Kimberly Peirce's Stop-Loss depicts, is often set back to start again.

The opening sequence, where James's predecessor is killed, leaving Eldridge and Sanborn in need of a new leader, is pretty obvious. It's so carefully set up you know what will happen. It's still excruciatingly tense, a textbook street IED diffusion job that conveys how terrified the two backup guys are and sets up what's to come. This is a team, with all three in radio contact and each with his function, Eldridge the lookout in charge of Sanborn, who's the guard. The street is surrounded with buildings and people and deep in unknowns. When James arrives shortly after his predecessor's body has been shipped home, he does a similar job, but it's all different.

First we don't feel the danger except by remembering the first sequence, because James is so immune to it. Sanborn and Eldridge are freaking out because James doesn't stay in touch with him when he's suited up dealing with the device. They feel lost. We realize that the three before were a great team and we sense the rage and abandonment of his bereaved mates. There's immediate intense conflict between Eldridge, an elegant, chiseled black man with extensive Intelligence experience, and the puffy-cheeked James whom Eldridge calls "redneck trailer trash" straight off to his face. These telegraphed macho conflicts, essential Bigelow, work because the jobs being done are all so convincingly and intensely depicted.

This is a great movie but it leaves you empty. The director is so caught up in what she's doing that it's infectious, but the compelling intensity also represents a loss of perspective. Still, if there is any non-documentary Iraq war movie that's a must-see, this has got to be it, and it's by far the best thing the uneven but gifted Kathryn Bigelow has ever done. It's a game-changer, the new American war movie to beat.

(This is a cut version of a 1,600-word review.)


54 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 936 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed