The Hurt Locker

Published September 6, 2020

The Hurt Locker

Film info

  • Title The Hurt Locker
  • Director Kathryn Bigelow
  • Year 2008
  • Run time 2hrs 11m
  • Genres War, Drama, Thriller
  • Tagline You'll know when you're in it

When renegade Sergeant William James takes command of a highly trained bomb disposal unit, he frequently risks the lives of himself and those around him with his suicidal methods and a complete disregard for danger. Caught in the middle are his subordinates Sergeant J.T. Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge, who can only watch as their leader descends further into addiction: an addiction to war.

Live blog

Time Comment
3:46 The robot is cute.
5:14 That’s a really impressive body suit… must be so hot!
10:00 Wow. Great slo-mos to capture the power of the blast.
12:26 “Pretty much the bottom line is, if you’re in Iraq, you’re dead.”
17:28 He’s very cocky about the potential bomb situation.
25:11 That’s an incredible but terrifying visual. Being surrounded by the bombs.
33:52 Oof, “he’s not going to make it” takes on a whole new meaning.
35:30 He’s very confident snipping the wires, usually that’s the whole crux of the movie.
41:56 I would keep getting distracted by the planes going over.
46:23 What word is that, boomala. I like.
54:57 It’s mad, they can’t even see what they’re shooting at.
1:02:18 It’s SO FAR.
1:09:03 Way to come down from a huge fight… by fighting.
1:16:38 Bless the doctor.
1:25:15 He’s disarming a boy.
1:28:41 So much more should be done for mental health.
1:33:10 Dude has gone so rogue.
1:46:23 Tension.
1:57:25 “You alright?” No, we have the worst job in the world.


This film has always lingered in the back of my mind, as the first female-directed movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture. But I’ve also been somewhat scared of it, without knowing why. Diving in, I wish I’d watched it sooner.

It’s not perfect. Complaints include: killing off Guy Pearce too early, very wobbly camera work particularly at the beginning, not explaining what the Hurt Locker actually is, confusion over whether the boy is the same one or not.

But aside from those niggles, it’s an exceptional piece of work. It puts you right in the heart of the action, and whilst I don’t totally believe someone would be as reckless as James in real life, it’s a dramatic movie that just ups the stakes. The extended sequence of him diffusing the bomb in the car is great, and when they are on the ridge just waiting to see if anything moves… how can that be interesting viewing? And yet it is.

Great acting, great direction apart from the shaky-cam, and a good story well-told.

Rating: 4 / 5

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