The Hurt Locker

 

Summit Entertainment

 

Rating: R

 

Reason for the Rating: War violence and language.

 

Plot Summary: An elite Army bomb squad must come together as they face daily dangers and life-threatening situations.

 

PopFam Recommends: The Hurt Locker is not a movie for children, but is a movie you won't want to miss. It well deserves the nine Oscar nominations it has received, and is more than just a movie. It is an experience that will leave you thinking well beyond its 131 minutes.

 

Let me just say up front, The Hurt Locker is not for the faint of heart.

 

This one is not a "sit back and relax, enjoy the show" kind of experience. It is, however, an experience, and one that will stay with you as you contemplate the story and its implications.

 

SFC William James (Jeremy Renner) is a bomb specialist. His job is diffusing bombs for the US Army, and his current location is Iraq. Baghdad to be exact. Recently assigned to a unit scheduled to go home in less than 2 months, James isn't the man this unit wants to see. He's reckless and doesn't follow protocol. He doesn't communicate with his team members, and takes unnecessary risks, much to the dismay of others working with him, who recently lost their team leader. Diffusing a bomb is stressful enough, but add to that possible sniper attacks, this job is crazy on the nerves.

 

Which is why James' teammates don't care so much for him. SGT Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) is a soldier who goes by the book. Things are done a certain way for a reason...to minimize casualties. You can't just go out there and throw caution to the wind. As the Communication Specialist, it's his job to, well, communicate. To make sure each member of the team is where they are supposed to be. So when James throws off his headset and refuses to talk in the middle of a situation, Sanborn isn't so thrilled.

 

The third member of the team, Specialist Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), is barely hanging on to sanity; the tension is almost too much for him (and me, I must admit). Death feels imminent for Eldridge, and James' antics create such anxiety within Eldridge, he seems about to break.

 

Surprisingly, The Hurt Locker was directed by a woman, Kathryn Bigelow (director of K-19: The Widowmaker and Point Break), and she did a fabulous job of not only creating complex characters and a believable set, but the feeling and tension as well. She sets the tone of the movie well at the beginning, by using a simple quote, "...war is a drug." For some, the adrenaline and stress of a wartime situation is addictive. Coming home to a quiet life is, well, boring and meaningless.

 

Which leads to the impression this movie leaves. If our country weren't at war, the impact might not be so great, but as most of us know someone who is, or has been, in Iraq or Afghanistan, The Hurt Locker causes us to pause and reflect on the physical and mental sacrifice that has been given for our safety and peace. It also gives our minds food for thought...is that what it's really like there? How would I deal with that kind of life and death situation? Would I be like Eldridge, Sanborn, or James? Would this kind of situation strengthen or weaken my faith? Questions that can only be answered in terrible circumstances, such as The Hurt Locker portrays.

 

Special features on this Blu-ray and DVD are minimal, with only a "behind the scenes" featurette, audio commentary from the director, and an image gallery included.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Where do you see God in a situation like The Hurt Locker portrays?

 

• James has many faults, but does he have any strength of character? What is it you admire in him?

 

• Why is this move titled The Hurt Locker?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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