7.5/10
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993 user 413 critic

The Hurt Locker (2008)

Trailer
2:31 | Trailer
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
1,183 ( 41)
Won 6 Oscars. Another 120 wins & 129 nominations. See more awards »

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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 ... Contractor Jimmy
Feisal Sadoun Feisal Sadoun ... Contractor Feisal
Barrie Rice Barrie Rice ... Contractor Chris
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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:

You'll know when you're in it. 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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first dramatic feature film about the Iraq War to win an Academy Award, and the first post-Vietnam War movie about a modern war to win the Best Picture Academy Award. The first war movie to win the Best Picture Academy Award since The English Patient (1996). This is the first war movie to win a Best Director Academy Award since Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002). See more »

Goofs

The iconic shot with the ejected round tumbling on ground after the final shot from the Barrett .50 cal, is actually a much smaller caliber. 7.62 or possibly 5.56, but certainly not .50 cal. See more »

Quotes

Guard at Liberty Gate: [after catching James coming back into the camp after having snuck out] What the fuck are you doing?
Staff Sergeant William James: I was in a whorehouse.
Guard at Liberty Gate: All right. If I let you in, will you tell me where it is exactly?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Post Mortem with Mick Garris: William Friedkin (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Fear (Is Big Business)
Written by Al Jourgensen (as Jourgensen) / Tommy Victor (as Victor) / Ministry
Performed by Ministry
Courtesy of 13th Planet Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
An excellent film
9 August 2009 | by t_bakerSee all my reviews

Military and war movies are problematic for me, at least modern-era ones; I wasn't in World War II or Vietnam but the post-Desert Storm era Army is a very well known quantity for me, and military movies set in this period (to include those set in the current Iraq / Afghanistan wars) almost always get some nagging thing wrong. Lieutenants and Captains don't call Colonels by their first names, and no one would ever wear a class-B wool sweater into a jungle at night, just to name two examples I've actually seen on screen in recent years.

"The Hurt Locker" slips up a bit, too, but to my surprise, I was able to forgive those missteps almost completely, because the movie on the whole is the most compelling war movie in many years, and just a great movie, period: terrifically acted, brilliantly conceived and directed, a work of true cinematic art. Like the committed professionals that it portrays, "The Hurt Locker" as a movie shows what movies are capable of when knowledgeable, experienced professionals are on top of their game.

"Saving Private Ryan" is generally regarded as THE modern war classic, and just about any picture set in war is going to draw at least a peripheral comparison to Steven Spielberg's flawed masterpiece, thanks to the still-detonating power of that film's master-class opening sequence, which took filmed combat to levels of never-before-seen verisimilitude. "The Hurt Locker" doesn't have that level of intensity, because it works on a smaller scale: the majority of the action is between individuals, not battalions. But there are extended sequences in "The Hurt Locker" that rival "Ryan" for impact, tightening the screws more slowly, more claustrophobically, until you feel as though you've been holding your breath even when you haven't. There are at least three of these sequences in "The Hurt Locker," all done in their own pace without dragging, all expertly performed, all showing a face of war that we haven't seen on film before.

There are bit roles from recognizable actors like David Morse (brilliant in his few moments on screen), Guy Pearce, and Ralph Finnes, but the majority of the acting load is shouldered by lesser-knowns Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie; they're both excellent. In a just world, this movie would be earning four hundred million in the US, not "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." But while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has pulled plenty of "say what?" moment in the past ("Crash," really?!?), they still have a chance to do right by this film and quality cinema in general: Best Picture nomination, a Best Director nod for Kathryn Bigelow, Best Screenplay (of some sort; this is based on journalism by the writer, Mark Boal, which may qualify it as "adapted" work), and acting nominations for Renner and Mackie. Yes, it's that good.

It's still only August and there's a lot of film to come in the ramp-up months to awards season, so this may be a stretch. But any movie that's going to top "The Hurt Locker" as my favorite of 2009 certainly has its work cut out for it.

BONUS POINTS: Unlike so many lesser films ("Crash," again looking in your direction), "The Hurt Locker" feels no need to explain its title on screen. There's never a point (at least that I recall) in which a character earnestly says, "Man, we're really in the hurt locker now" or words to that effect. A small point, sure, but just another nod to the creativity and confidence of the filmmakers.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 »

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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