hurt locker

December 6, 2013

Here’s a film that’s a different kind of war film. What did you feel about it?  What did you feel about the characters, their situation, and how we should respond?  What specific choices do you think made the film unique?



  1. I felt that this movie was an amazing portrayal of what life is like over in the middle east. Every mission the team went on began to become more and more suspenseful, growing danger at each turn and the team comes across more difficulties as they go. I felt the characters each had their own internal struggles. Jeremy Renner has his own way of doing things, often unethical as the standards would go and puts his team in danger almost every time they go out. Sanborn has the cool demeanor but he is on the edge and ready to go crazy and flip out at any moments notice. He always has the safety of the team comes first and always about protecting the team. Eldgridge has internal and psychological struggles as he feels he is responsible for the death of their team leader at the beginning of the movie played by Guy Pearce.

    I feel as if their situation is a rather difficult one, granted they are only working on a one year shift but that year is one of the most stressful that can happen over seas. Constantly dealing with explosives and not knowing who people are and the enemy is not only the bomb but the people around the bomb, looking in from the streets, and the strangers with video cameras in their hands. One of the things that really made this film unique is that the battle was between the soldiers, not between the enemies they were fighting. They constantly had a struggle with themselves and with each other, Renner had to get his adrenalin fix every mission, Sanborn was pissed off because Renner would not take orders and Eldridge did not know if that day would be his last day out there.

  2. The main character in the second half was very intriguing. When he and the two other men were fighting in the shack you could see that he had some strange scars on his chest which implied that he either was abused as a child or was in some type of bomb accident. He seems very sullen and serious until they go into the house and find the dead body of the boy who had a bomb inside of him and he thought he recognized him. He got very emotional, more so then when seconds later the doctor blows up right in front of their faces. Seeing the boy dead had an impact on him to the point that he even goes to another house and tries to figure out how the boy died. Its only later that he finds out that the boy who he thought it was was still alive.
    Also he talks about how he still has a woman living with him in his home who is also his ex wife and he has a young little boy. Shortly after saying this he goes out almost looking for trouble when he goes to try and find the person responsible for making the bomb go off in the green zone. It wasn’t really his job but he went anyways because he was emotionally charged which later caused his friend to break some bones and almost get kidnapped. His friend later accused him of just looking for “An adrenalin rush and not thinking” and his other friend later on gets emotional talking to him when he was saying all he wanted was a family and a little boy and he doesn’t understand how he can go out and do dangerous things every day when he has a little boy back at home.
    The next scene that stood out was when the man had a bomb strapped to his chest. He ran out and tried to cut the bomb vest off of him while the man is crying saying how he had a family. He was running out of time and apologized to the man that he didn’t have enough time and was sorry and then ran away as he blew up. After this incident he was sent home for awhile to be with his family. One of the last scenes you see is him talking to his son about how as you get older there is only one or two things you still love and for him he thinks its only one or two things. Then the final scene is him going back to the army possibly implying that the only thing he loves is his job, which is very strange since he has a son. This movie was really interesting and was very good at tapping into a persons personality and how they may be feeling when they would be put in similar situations. The emotions and attitudes are very realistic.

  3. In my opinion, the Hurt Locker is one of the most honest and realistic demonstrations of what life is like in this current style of war. As we briefly discussed in class, long gone are the days of fighting battles that add up into a war. Every second is a battle and everyday is a war. It truly shows the struggle that these soldiers go through all the time. As dangerous as the roadside bombs and enemies can be, the soldiers own thoughts can be just as dangerous to them when you are stuck over there always wondering if you are going to die today.
    I think the choice to focus on the soldiers relationships with each other and each one of their mental struggles and what not at different points of the film was more meaningful and impactful than if she just would have focused on fight scenes and battles where they were exchanging fire with the enemies. There were a few scenes where they were fighting, but even in these scenes they were should how the soldiers were handling it and what their mindsets were like during it. The emphasis always was on that and not even necessarily the fight itself. I really like this movie for this reason because it is not just a bunch of loud gun fighting with no real purpose to it and it tells a good story that needs to be told.

  4. To be honest, I don’t know how I felt about this film. I did think it was an excellent portrayal of what went on during the war overseas. It carried the feeling of suspense through the entire film because I never knew what was going to happen next. I was expecting things to blow up when they didn’t and I didn’t expect things to blow up even though they did. However, even though I was waiting for something, anything to happen during the film, I never felt like I got anything. Usually war films have a specific goal or mission that they are trying to complete, but I didn’t feel that with this one. I understand that they were trying to disarm the IEDs, but that’s it; I didn’t feel like there was anything else to the film at all, but that’s just my opinion. It wasn’t a terrible movie, but I wouldn’t watch it again. I thought that the film didn’t feel scripted, which made it more real with me and made it unique. Most of the war films that I watch are in a way unrealistic. So I would have to say that the biggest part of this movie that made it unique was of how real it was.
    I thought that Jeremy Renner had the most interesting part in the movie. He was the rebel fighter who didn’t listen to rules and did what he wanted too. At times he would even put his entire team in danger, like when he was trying to disarm the IED in the car. He’s set out to do his job of disarming the IEDs, and he won’t quit or stop until he disarms every single one. Sanborn was the more careful soldier. He followed the rules and wanted everyone else to comply to what he said. He even smacked Renner because he didn’t listen to him. Eldridge was more careful, and he went through more struggles than the other two soldiers. He felt that he was responsible for the leader’s death in the explosive accident because he told him he needed to join in the field for a day just to see what they go through. The scene that I felt the most connection to was when Renner and his team walked in that building and found that boy dead. At first, both Renner and the audience believe that the boy was the one Renner had the bond with to begin with, which draws the emotional reaction from both Renner and the audience.

  5. This film was unlike any other war film I have seen. When I think about war films, I think about a lot of action. Not to say that Hurt Locker did not have action, it certainly had its moments of tension, but it was structured differently than most war films. Instead, the film focused a lot on the struggles of individual characters and what they have to go through during war. The film focuses on the stresses of war, rather than who is fighting and why. Jeremy Renner’s character had his own stresses, like the fact that he is a bomb tech and is constantly under pressure. This constant adrenaline became a part of his normal life and we can see how it bothers him that instead of being a husband and father, being at war was more normal for him. Sanborn seemed to struggle with his purpose in the war, and we see him wishing he had a family to represent when he discusses with James how he is ready to die .Eldridge struggles a lot mentally because he blames himself for the death of his team leader and the doctor. I think that Eldridge’s character is especially interesting in today’s time because now that our country has been in this war for some time, we are starting to see more and more soldiers come home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    Another way this film strays from the typical war movie plot is that there seems to be no mission. All we know is that there is war. There is never a time when the enemy is identified. Even at times when we think an enemy is presented, like when James’ team comes across the broken down truck, it turns out those guys were on the same side. Then whenever people start shooting at each other, we don’t know who they are or why they are shooting. It is very difficult to determine which side is which and what the goals are. Jeremy Renner’s character probably has the clearest goal, he has to get rid of bombs! Though in general, survival seems to be the main goal for all of the characters. Even though the enemies are unknown are hardly shown, I still feel that this movie does a good job at highlighting the dangers and stresses of war. There are very few characters in this film, but through those few characters we can gather a lot of information about what war does to an individual.

  6. The Hurt Locker is definitely a different take on a war film. I think that mainly has to do with the war it deals with. I think the film captures what it is actually like to be a soldier fighting in Iraq. There’s no clear goal. There’s no clearly defined enemies and everyday is just a fight for survival. Everyone they come across is a potential enemy.
    I think the film’s objective is to get the audience to think about what the purpose of these wars. Are these wars in the middle east worth the cost?
    How the main character portrayed is a great filmmaking choice that really shows what war can do to a person. He’s not the typical protagonist of a war movie. He is a very complex and damaged human being. War has ruined his perception of normal life.

  7. In my opinion “The Hurt Locker” is a very contemporary sort of war film, that focuses on a very specific type of soldier in the American Army, and yet still allows for a very broad understanding of the atmosphere. William James, the main character allows us to see deep into the psyche of the American war hero, and perhaps give an understanding as to why these people do what they do. It focuses on his decent into a sort of madness that you can sympathize with. The other characters, Eldridge in particular, have different levels of moods about he war too, and the three characters complete a sort of mood triangle. William James is excited, Sanburn is indifferent, and Eldridge is fearful. In this manner, they set to balance each other out, and this allows for the narrative to balance greatly, and it allows the actors to have great on-screen chemistry. By focusing on a bomb squad, it gives the film a very different sort of feel than most war films, that focus mainly on action; “The Hurt Locker” is more of a thriller/war film in that it’s drama deals more with the quiet moments, than with the loud gun fights. By breaking away (for the most part) from this war film “cliche” it humanizes the film. The quiet moments also deal with the patience that these characters had to live through, in order to not cause the bombs they are diffusing to go off. That, combined with the “time-limit” that these bombs have, creates a sense of tension within the scenes. The decision at the start of the film to kill of the original bomb-squad leader, allows the audience to see the repercussions of the characters mistakes and feeds into the drama of William James later in the film. The film also uses a sort of handheld camera cinematography through out the entire film, which due to it’s contemporary setting, makes the film feel like it is being shot by a passerby to these characters, and makes it feel that much more real. Truly, this film has a huge amount of realistic moments that almost make you believe that every thing that is happening is happening for real. With the great characters and cinematography allowing the film to humanize itself, and be one of the most realistic war films that I’ve ever seen.

  8. What is so startling different about The Hurt Locker in comparison to other war films that I have seen is the relationship between the soldiers, but I am not surprised that it came from the same director Kathryn Bigelow – who directed Zero Dark Thirty. Usually in these films you see the soldiers portrayed as one family fighting against a common enemy, however, this is not the case with this film. James is often in disagreement for it and Sanborn and Owen are not always happy with his battle techniques, especially when he risks everyone’s safety for his own adrenaline rush and pride for disarming bombs. They constantly fight with one another and Sanborn even considered killing James in the beginning of the film with a bomb “misfire.” Truth be told, the most touching relationship is between James and Beckham the Iraqi boy that sells bootleg DVDs and plays soccer. It’s bizarre to see a soldier with a friendship with the “enemy’s” child and even more shocking to see James’s strong reaction when he thinks the boy on the table is Beckham. Truth be told, I think that is one of the feminine touches that comes from a female directing the film – it seems like a move for a female director to create a bizarre almost father and son relationship with a boy that the soldier does not even truly know and the mission that he goes on to avenge the boy. Another touch I think that came from having a female director is the interaction between James and his son – the conversation where the child is giggling and playing and James tells the baby that things won’t always be so happy and that he won’t always love everything. This is very telling of what has made James the man he is – war has changed him and he only feels comfortable confiding in the one individual who does not even understand and who could not speak back and tell him if he is right or wrong. It was a touching and almost disturbing scene and it almost seems like a goodbye to his son, because the next scene was him in a new rotation, starting more all over again. Not exactly the happy “the war is over let’s celebrate” ending that I am used to.

  9. Not seeing this film before class I was not really sure what it was about. The one thing I did know is that it was a war film. Now, once I found out it was a war film I automatically assumed that it would be a lot about the war in the middle east and what was going on between the two sides. I could not of been more wrong. This film is about fighting in a war, but the war in the film (I believe) is the struggle with oneself as well as the others in the group you are working with. Right from the very beginning this crew of people lost their leader and had to deal with getting used to a new one. These people are involved with very dangerous missions and trusting the people you are with is very important, so I am sure it was hard to adjust to new leadership. This is about the specific type of team in the military as well as specific types of people that sign on to be a part of this team. In order for these missions to successfully work, trust in you other team members is key and I believe that was something that was lacking once the new team leader came on board. You also have a character you struggles a lot with himself. After his friend and team leader was killed in the explosion he was not himself. He frequently sees a psychiatrist and has a lot of struggles with himself and the job that he has signed up to do.

  10. After watching this film, I think the strongest response I have is tied between surprise and disgust. Surprise because I would have thought that the film would have contained some kind of political push that we are doing the right thing by being in the Middle East, and that we are winning. Disgust, not at the film in general, but more at the situation of the soldiers and the war itself. For me, the film simply held up my belief that war is waste. The film showed clearly the loss, not just of life, but of humanity, normality, and a clear sense of right and wrong as we understand it here. There is no clear sense of one side versus another in the film which is quite unique and rare for war films. As I mentioned, most involve some political message to assure the public that everything is going according to plan. To me, the film showed more of a war against time. Every now and then the number of days left in the rotation would show across the bottom, and I felt as though that was more the enemy than the people the soldiers encountered. The film further skewed the who is fighting whom by following a team of soldiers that diffuses bombs. We never see who sets the bombs or leaves them behind, we only see the people the soldiers suspect and the soldiers themselves. This could also suggest a war against death as well as time. The main goal of the soldiers is to stay alive long enough to get out of their rotation. I personally cannot imagine facing the risk of death every time you got out of bed in the morning; I don’t know how they do it. At first, I really did not like the second leader because he came across as reckless and not a good leader. However, as the film continued to progress, I came to understand the reason behind his reactions and began to sympathize a bit more. I really did like the character of Sanborn; he was a down-to-earth man who wanted to take care of his team and get everyone home alive. To me, that sounds more like a leader than a man who wants to show off how well he can diffuse a bomb. For me, the film in general showed the true horror of war, especially the one we are fighting in the Middle East. It really drives home the idea that war is not glory and triumph; most of the men have no idea what they are truly fighting for…they just want to survive and go home. “The Hurt Locker” gives us at home a sense, and only a sense, of what it might be like to be out there in the war instead of behind a desk trying to tell us all a story of morality and victory. I really enjoyed the film and am glad to have seen it.

  11. I liked the movie, Film makers tend to do War film really well, in my opinion, because there is so much to consider when attempting to depict an event that effects every one in defferent ways, and cover some things that most people may not know of or elect not to think of, without offending anyone. There are plenty of war films about our past wars and I appreciate those who take the charge to make a film about our most current war because there are so many angles to take the film in and some many things that are still yet unknown and politics that most Americans do not support. So far, I have seen 2 films on this war, Act of Valor and ZeroDarkThirty both dealing with the killing of Osama bin Ladin. I liked that this movie focused solely on the soldiers and their everyday fight for primal survival, sanity, and comraderory. In the other two movies, there was a task at hand, the veiwers knew it, the soldiers knew it, their higher ups knew, the soldiers carried out their mission went home when it was completed of course with some casualties. In this film, I understood that the squadrant that we focused on always went out to defuse bombs. This is not the type of mission we are used to seeing, it will not earn them hero of the year awards but their dilegent work will keep houndreds of our soldiers safe to fight another day. I feel that this film approached war from the thank-less, the unglorified and phychological perspective.
    The characters were all very complex, but there were clear lines of destinction between each of them. Eldridge seems like the younger of the 3 men, he , for lack of better words, cries a lot, he handles his emotional stress outwordly. while Sandborn tries to be the voice of reason, and keep calm and do the right thing but is also dealing with his own issues of not want ing to be in Iraq. James frightens most with his dangerouse maverick approach to life, and unlike most he prefers to be in Iraq. In a way, I can sum these 3 men up by calling Elldrdge the SupperEgo, James the Id and Sandborn the Ego,since this is a very psychological film. My response to Eldridge was irritation, his emotional dispplays annoyed me because of their frequency. Sandborn seemed afraid, yet smart, but when he would check up on James it made me feel that he would try to seem superior or authoritative. James was often the source of suspence in this movie. The subject matter, the differences between the characterististics of the characters, and suspence throughout the entire movie made this film unique to me.

  12. The Hurt locker was a film that really gave the modern day version of what goes on in the army. The film really took home showing the way each person in the army felt. It seemed as one of the characters like Sgt.James who was so adapted to being in the army, and then there was another guy named Sgt.Elridge that was afraid whenever there was a battle. Another guy Sgt. Williams that wanted to protect his fellow soldiers, and come home safely. They all have their struggles that they go through. I feel that the best response is to just try to figure that they are risking their lives every day, and they want to just come home to their families. The choices that were in the film were unique, like the yellow kite that was in the sky, when the solider was opening his eyes when a bomb hit. The Hurt Locker made me feel that there is so much that soldiers go through and risk their lives to serve our country. It also shown how people can be so effected by the war.

  13. This film is very different in terms of other movies based on war and I believe it has something to with the fact that the war it is based on was not like any other war we have ever faced. The technology is new compared to older war movies and in films like Full Metal Jacket the enemy is clear cut and the lines of battle are all clearly laid out for the viewer. In the Hurt Locker, the enemies could be anyone, even the innocent child that is playing soccer could be a threat.
    The characters in this movie are also what set it apart from other war movies. Each character has a deep emotional struggle that are trying to overcome and with each mission you really start to find out the issues each soldier is dealing with. The main character played by Jeremy Renner is an adrenalin junky that can only find release through these life or death missions where he deliberately puts himself in danger. While the other character Sandborn is always trying to play it safe and make sure everyone works together as a team to complete the mission which really contradicts Renner’s character. Then there is Eldridge who is having a tough time dealing with the death of their squad leader. This type of character is rarely seen in the traditional style war movie and in my opinion, it is a more realistic portrayal of a soldier at war.

  14. This film was unique compared to most modern warfare movies. Usually they are all action sequences and modern weapons. I feel this movie represents current warfare more accurately than other films. Today, terrorists train children to combat enemy soldiers because they offer a greater element of surprise. This helped to create a great amount of suspense and thrill to the film. Old wars played by basically a rule book where as today war really has no rules as both sides kill innocent citizens and demolish cities. War used to be very clear cut, but as this film portrays, today is much more violent and unpredictable. The characters were very unique, each having a distinct personality for their unit. The main struggles were between characters on the same side, not necessarily with enemies. It was if the characters were linked by the sharing-a-common-enemy theme. I thought the film was fantastic and enjoyed it a great deal. It lends a greater appreciation for military life to the average citizen. Warfare is not glitz or glamorous, as this film displays.

  15. This was my frist time watching this film, and it was definitely a lot different than I was expecting it to be. While watching, I was surprised to see war portrayed in this way in the film. It was focused more on the emotional side of the soldiers rather than the actual battle. After watching the film, I found out The Hurt Locker was directed by a female, which I really think makes a difference in how the director relates to the characters and the movie. I felt like because the director took so much time to actually focus on the emotions and struggles of each character, it made it easier for me to relate to each character. For example, we see how deeply Eldridge is effected when he sees the base therapist blown up right in front of him. His emotion is completely and utterly raw. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and I believe it made me understand what the guys are going through a little better, just from Eldridge’s reaction.

  16. At first I was blown away, just as the first character who wore the bomb suit at the beginning of the film. I absolutely did not see that coming. At first the story seemed that he was the main character, and then right away killed him.
    Then we meet Jeremy Renner’s character. He’s a loose cannon and adrenaline junkie. We see in one scene with his shirt off, that he has scars from an explosive device. I feel like after that experience of almost dying, he feels as though now it is his mission to get revenge on all of these explosives. He wants to love his family, and I feel like really at one point he did. I think this movie tries to show how hard war can be on a family, especially when it shows how run down the upkeep of the house is. It also shows how desensitized it can make a man after war.

  17. I haven’t seen too many war films, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Hurt Locker. I liked that it showed a more real picture of what war is like, rather than showing us a film with characters that are die hard, patriotic Americans. Instead, this film portrayed the true emotion, terror, and hardship that accompanies war, along with the confusion felt by the men as to what they were doing there, and the desire [of some of them] to go home. I really enjoyed the realness and the depth of the characters – the three main characters were all strong and clearly qualified to do their jobs, but you could see that all of them struggled and felt pain for their own unique reasons, with the war being at the heart of them all.
    I think the response from watching this is supposed to be eye-opening. It gives us a look at what it was probably like for men who fought in that war – the constant fear for your life and the life of your companions, the possibility of seeing someone that you’re close to shot or blown up at any minute, the regret for things they haven’t done yet when they’re fearful of losing their lives every day, as well as countless other hardships.
    I think that one specific choice that made this film unique was the choice to start off in medias res, and to have a seemingly important character killed off right away. I think another choice that made this film unique was the way it jumped around, one scene would end and suddenly we would be in the midst of another scene where the action is already starting. I thought that the use of flashbacks in the case of Sgt. James was also effective in helping us to get an idea of what he’s all about. Overall, like I said, I really enjoyed this movie, and I’m glad we watched it in this class because I otherwise might not have watched it on my own.

  18. This war film was vastly different than other war films I have seen and thoroughly enjoyed it. the battles took place daily through lines that were exactly distinct. the soldiers dealing with bombs daily had to fight a battle that is not one we commonly see. sure there were guns fights in the movie but the battle was more emotional in the dealing with bombs. guy Pearce’s character took the responsibility very different than Jeremy Renner’s and the weird thing is that no matter how much caution Guy Pearce’s character used he still died quicker. While on the other hand Jeremy Renner’s character exuberated a almost carefree disposition and already accepted the fact that since they were there dealing with death he would accept it comfortably and quickly.
    the sound effects drew me into the film and had my heart racing every time a bomb was introduced in the film. when Guy Pearce begins to run when the bomb is about to explode and the frame shot slows down it really brings you into an adrenaline like rush hoping that he gets away.
    I believe that since the director is women she could get away from this hero fantasy that we have as males and she could delve into the gritty underbelly of war and the psychological effects it has on those involved.

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