Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

 Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty



The Hurt Locker


“The Hurt Locker” is a scary and frightening view into the work of a team of three American soldiers in Iraq whose job is to defuse roadside bombs and IUDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that have been placed and hidden by what we call ‘the enemy.’ though I’m not quite sure what that means.


The three are Jeremy Renner as Staff Sgt. William James; Anthony Mackie as Sgt. J.T. Sanborn, and Brian Geraghty as Specialist Owen Eldrige.  The movie wastes no time with expositions of their backstories or their personalities or their lives outside their work.  It begins with the defusing of an I.E.D. along a road in Baghdad.  The one who does the work is Renner, wearing a suit and helmet designed to absorb and deflect bomb fragments, yet leaving his hands free to manipulate the wires and the trigger devices and the explosives, which also means that if the bomb should explode while he’s working on it, he will lose at least his two hands.  He knows this.


Director Kathryn Bigelow, working in a genre that up till now has been the exclusive property of male directors, has.brought this frightening yet essential work so close to us we can almost smell the dust, the copper wires, the C-4 explosives.  The men are in radio contact throughout, while Renner is defusing the bomb, watching the surrounding buildings for telltale signs of someone triggering the bomb by remote, cell-phone control.  Once in a while they may chase a suspicious person through alleys and up apartment blocks.


But mainly their job is to de-activate the bombs; the more they do, statistically the more likely it is that one of them will go off while Renner is working on it.  But there is an addiction to danger here that we see in him and his partners, as the tension ratchets up.  Toward the end of the film an Iraqi, a middle-aged man, turns out to have a suicide bomb strapped to his body; he now tells them he does not want to die – perhaps he was forced to wear this because he opposed the bomb-makers.  Whatever the reason, Renner must go and try to defuse it all.  It is a moment in which we all hold our breath.


The number of days until they are rotated home is shown on the screen, until they are finally at the last day.  What happens then is only for those who watch the movie.  “The Hurt Locker” is an extraordinary achievement and should be seen by anyone concerned with the Iraq war and its consequences.