Reviewed by: Greg Nielsen
|Featuring:||Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, Jeremy Renner, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, David Morse, Christian Camargo, Suhail Al-Dabbach, Christopher Sayegh, Nabil Koni, Sam Spruell, Sam Redford, Feisal Sadoun, Barrie Rice, Imad Dadudi, Erin Gann, Justin Campbell, Malcolm Barrett, Kristoffer Winter, J.J. Kandel, Ryan Tramont, Michael Desante, Hasan Darwish, Wasfi Amour, Nibras Quassem, Ben Thomas, Nader Tarawneh, Anas “Tipsy” Wellman, Omar Mario, Fleming Campbell, David Gueriera, Kate Mines|
|Producer:||First Light Production, Kingsgate Films, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Tony Mark, Donall McCusker, Greg Shapiro|
“War is a drug.”
“The Hurt Locker” is a movie about a bomb squad in Iraq on the last 30 days of their tour of duty. The group consists of three people. 2 of the men play bodyguards to James, the new bomb disposal expert. They don’t get along, because James takes risks that could get them killed.
That’s the plot. No, I’m not leaving stuff out. Yes, it may absolutely pin you to the seat beyond riveting. I’ve seen a lot of movies this year. It’s a list that includes everything from the juvenile shocks of “Watchmen” to the cartoon that was the new “Terminator” movie. I’ve seen almost every action movie that you can think of, and I can’t think of a movie more intense than this one. It’s intense without having to resort to constant violence and gore, either. In fact, it is really rather limited in it’s violence. It’s just, when it happens, it’s very realistic and quick. Even if you have a weak stomach, you’ll probably be ok.
And, oh my goodness, everyone in this movie is talented. If Jeremy Renner does not get a nomination for best actor at the Oscars, you know they truly don’t care anymore. He plays a character that a ham actor would make unbearable fast. Everybody else in this movie is just as good—from David Morse to Anthony Mackie.
So, I’ll stop praising what is the best action movie of the past thirty years for a bit. I’ll talk about what you probably want to know about, which is why you might need to skip this movie. Needless to say, these guys curse. They curse like a James Ellroy novel, which is to say creatively and frequently.
It would be very easy to focus on the fact that some of the commanders of these men are seen as either ineffectual or as just plain idiots. I support the army. I don’t think these people are idiots. However, I do know some people in the army, and they’ve told me some stories that’ll make you, and certainly me, worry for them. In the end, I think it’s just another way of adding to the realism. Besides, one of the ineffectual commanders is a nut case right winger, and the other is a politically correct idiot. One of these guys ends up in a bad way, and I won’t spoil which. Although everything I’ve stated here is mostly a political, not moral, question.
I guess the only other thing you’d have to worry about would be, of course, violence. It’s a given in a movie like this. As I said, you do not see a lot of it. When it happens though, it’s quick and rough. They do bring up body bombs, too. Whereas terrorists hide bombs in dead bodies. It’s an important scene.
Few movies really bring up how nasty the terrorists in Iraq are. Usually, you get stuff like in “Body of Lies.” Terrorists that will only kill other grown men and ineffectually hurt a big name American movie star. “The Hurt Locker” has the upper hand here, not just realistically, but morally. Nobody should be white washing what these people are doing over there to people who don’t follow their idea of religion.
All this to say that, ultimately, even though there are some reasons you might not want to see the movie, perhaps you should anyway. Although, I understand still not wanting to see the movie. The Bible tells us to focus on what’s good and right, and there is some most definitely not good or right actions and people in this movie. The movie, however, is about the reality of what’s happening over there, and we can’t really ignore it.
Sadly, the American army chose not to help make this movie. Normally, the various branches of the military help out on any movie getting made that involves them. They helped make, of all things, Bill Murray’s “Stripes.” “The Hurt Locker” got no such help. The director, Kathyrn Bigelow, had to finance it all herself. “Transformers 2” got the help of all four branches and real soldiers for extras. They look like morons in that movie who have to rely on a college kid and robots to fight space aliens. So, my tax dollars funded trash, although admittedly fun trash that I enjoyed, but did nothing to help out with the making of something that is a masterpiece. I guess what we can take away from all this is that the private sector really is better than the government at everything.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
Neutral—In regards to a comment made by: Joshua S., age 16 (USA), I just didn’t feel like your comments were all lining up with a Christian world view, some were more politically correct, than based on truth, and some were incorrect.
Quote—“I’m sorry, but when did the film insinuate anything about bearing anti-Bush or anti-war? (Which is no reason for a Christian to not see a film by the way, since these are opinions of politics and in no way related to religion)” The “I don’t know thing” in the movie is a subtle way of saying what the troops are doing is pointless, whether you think so or not, that’s exactly what it’s saying. Are politics not related to Christian beliefs? What about abortion? Much of politics are related! That’s why it is so important for Christians to vote their values!
Quote—“The Iraqi and Afghan people are not evil, or bad, neither are many Muslims, even if we do not believe in or agree with their religion, saying otherwise is equivalent to saying that all Catholics are evil if you are Protestant. The evil people in these countries are the terrorists, there are extremists in every religion, not just theirs.” I would agree with most of this quote, but I am getting the feeling that you think the religion is not evil. If the Muslim religion is practiced exactly the way it is supposed to be practiced, it is violent, evil, and advocates the killing of innocent people in order to accomplish a successful jihad. The Muslims that don’t believe in killing innocent people, are not following what the Quran says.
I just wanted to throw that out there. Islam is not a peaceful religion. Those who think it is do not understand it. Being accepting and tolerant is not what we as Christians are supposed to do. We are to chose good over evil, in every situation. Humbly, your friend in Christ! God Bless!
—Buddy, age 24 (USA)
Positive—In response to Greg T. “However, it slowly and deliberately decided to knock president Bush and the war. The key character says in response to being asked why are you doing this and says, “I don’t know,” insinuatingly that the war effort was pointless, with undertones to the feelings of many about the Vietnam War.” I’m sorry, but when did the film insinuate anything about bearing anti-Bush or anti-war? (Which is no reason for a Christian to not see a film by the way, since these are opinions of politics and in no way related to religion) This quote you use is in regard to the character and their personal struggles in what is undeniably a terrible situation, in absolutely no way related to anti-war stabs; if these characters were anti-war, this film would play like “Rendition” or “Lions for Lambs,” and they would not be in the military at all, neither of these being true (and this film being much better then those). How you came to these conclusions is a mystery to me.
“They get drunk and hit each other. It reminded me of the other movie about the US military going to Iraq cause some of their buddies got killed in a terrorist raid. They “finagle” their way over their and are portrayed as bad as the terrorists they are trying to kill.” Again, I’m sorry, but how do these characters drinking showcase them in a negative light as people, or as you say, “as bad as the terrorists they are trying to kill.” These are unchristian men in their twenties to thirties, they obviously make the unwise decision to become intoxicated, yet I fail to see how this displays them as bad as the terrorists. The terrorists are shown (even though they are never actually shown) as owning up to their namesake, they cause terror, not just for the US army, but among their own people (as displayed in the body bomb scene), this is a fact I believe far too many Americans forget. The Iraqi and Afghan people are not evil, or bad, neither are many Muslims, even if we do not believe in or agree with their religion, saying otherwise is equivalent to saying that all Catholics are evil if you are Protestant. The evil people in these countries are the terrorists, there are extremists in every religion, not just theirs.
Part of the strength of “The Hurt Locker,” the best film I saw from 2009 and one of the best to be released this decade, is that the film remains vehemently unpolitical. There is no red and blue behind this film or its script, unlike “Lions for Lambs” or “Rendition,” this film places its focus precisely on its characters and their immediate situations. The film is taut, tense and superbly well-done in every aspect. It is the type of war film that will be remembered for years, along with “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan.” It is also the quintessential film based on the Iraq war, doing what a war film should, portraying both the banalities and the horrors of everyday life in the war zone, and what happens during the war, not why the war is happening or the reasons for it.
This is a film, like “The Passion…” and “Schindler’s List,” that should be seen, especially now while it is relevant. You never saw a film about the holocaust in the holocaust, but today you see films about the Iraq war while the “war” is still going on, fresh in our minds. This is an important film.
Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joshua S., age 16 (USA)