Hurt Locker Review – Unworthy of 9 Nominations

As Dirty Harry once said (in Magnum Force):

A man’s got to know his limitations.

Alas, the folks who put up The Hurt Locker for nine Academy awards do not know theirs. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have heaped nine Oscar nominations on this film.

And we shudder to think what’ll happen on Oscar night.

Ain’t Bad
Make no mistake, schmucks.

The Hurt Locker is not a bad movie.

Actually, it’s a fairly decent movie that has you in its grip for the better part of its playing time.

But it’s just not a film that merits extraordinary encomiums.

Filmed (in Jordan) in the wake of George W.Bush’s unpopular and ill-fated attack on Iraq, Hurt Locker follows a group of ordnance/bomb disposal squad members of the U.S. Army posted in Iraq.

These are the dog days of the war, unlike the present-day, relatively more stable and less violent Iraq.

Life’s hard for the U.S. soldiers in the dusty environs of a hostile country and the clear and present danger.

For these unfortunate ‘trailer trash’ cannon fodder, both black and white, death is a constant companion from the below-ground IEDs, above-ground snipers, on-ground suicide bombers, ambushes and other horrific attacks from a deeply resentful populace.

And Hurt Locker does a good job in showcasing the omnipresent dangers the three-man bomb squad faces in its daily forays outside the Green Zone.

A danger highlighted in the early moments of the movie through the death of an IED-defusing member of the squad (IED, for all ye dodos is the reference to improvised explosive devices, the lethal bombs cunningly buried on roads to kill and maim American servicemen).

Dusty Road to the Oscar
Replacing the dead soldier is Sergeant William James (Jeremy Runner), a gung ho ‘wild’ guy, seemingly mindless to the risks, disdainful of army procedures and, oh yeah, unconventional for sure in his approach to the deadly mission of defusing bombs before they can unleash their horrific effects on the soldiers and bystanders.

As James dons his thick astronaut-like protective gear, helmet and all and clumsily, repeatedly walks down the dusty road toward the implanted IEDs, you are unsure if he’s heedlessly marching toward his death or valiantly marching toward glory.

James (by the way, Jeremy Runner who plays him has won an Oscar nomination for Best Actor) is a cool cat unlike his more emotional partners Sanborn and Elridge.

Only twice does he lose his composure and even then it’s not the usual manic fury of a soldier out to wreak vengeance but a controlled anger. Interesting.

For sure, Runner plays his part well but is it an Oscar worthy performance?

Well, that depends on who’s watching.

Bottom Up Look
There are the obligatory goats (in the desert and in the city too), the suspiciously-acting Muslims standing around, watching and seemingly waiting for the attacks on the soldiers and the unsurprising tension between the three soldiers in the Humvee and outside sometimes explodes.

But there’s no politics here.

No spiel on liberating the natives. And certainly no speeches on spreading “God’s gift of Democracy” to the Iraqis.

Merely, war as seen from the bottom up, from the perspective of three ‘foot soldiers’ performing an extremely dangerous job in a dangerous part of the world.

While the ‘small picture’ focus on war is not uninteresting,ย  this is not the stuff of great movies.

Not the story. Not the acting. Not the action.

You don’t feel the thrill, the adrenaline rush of watching an exciting movie. At least, we didn’t.

Like we did last year with Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

The Hurt Locker story based on a script by Mark Boal, who observed the war at close quarters while embedded with a U.S. Army bomb squad in Iraq, occasionally locks up just like Sanborn’s rifle during the less-than-thrilling ambush in the desert.

Although never far from the soldiers’ thoughts and flashed frequently on the screen are the number of days left for their tour to end, many return to the battle-ground.

As if taunting death.

You can rent Hurt Locker DVD from RedBox or Netflix in the U.S.

14 Responses to "Hurt Locker Review – Unworthy of 9 Nominations"

  1. deepa   February 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hei guys, thanks for the review…my player has been sent for repair so until then I’ll be taking your word for it ๐Ÿ™‚ Responds:

    You write: my player has been sent for repair

    Repair? An unheard of activity here. ๐Ÿ™

    Is that paiya Ajith popular in your country?

  2. deepa   February 5, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Seriously????? You mean if your TV or stereo is busted, you have to throw it away??? There’s no place to sent it to, to get it fixed????? Responds:

    Unless it’s still in warranty (say for 12-months or so from the date of purchase in which case the manufacturer will fix it for free)…

    If DVD players, TVs, cell phones, stereos, camcorders, digital cameras, washers, dryers, older PCs et al conk out after the warranty period expires they usually go to the sidewalk for the trash guy to pick up.

    There are exceptions of course like high-end DSLR cameras that you can get fixed at some stores in big cities.

    Sad, the amount of wastage here.

    The reason is the high cost of repair makes it unviable.

  3. logu   February 5, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Did you follow the happenings on Mumbai over the past few days
    we guess The Shivsenas and MNS are running short of their rabbies injections, it’s getting on to their heads. They have become vermins of the society
    Nobody is spared from their venomous bites starting from Sachin to SRK.
    Is INDIA a ” Democratic Country?Ridiculous not abt SRK or his film , but just wondering as a fellow citizen do we all have the freedom to speech in India or No? just a statement tat he wud like to include pak cricketers has become a huge news?and sachin and mukesh for their remarks on Mumbai. The whole blame belongs to the congress for their indecisiveness both at centre and state to act against Shivsena and MNS
    GOD Save INDIA.

    see the below links

    The old cat is on a final hunt it seems!!!!!!!! its not shivsena its now Shave the Senas
    poor SRK isn’t getting any support from his own industry either with Big B praising Bala saheb in his blog.. how weird????

    and his nephew clown Raj joins the bashing bandwagon
    the mongrel Raj thackeray calls rahul a “Rome putra” how disgusting it is on part of the clown who couldn’ win a single seat in his state.

    wonder you might be interested in this

    Rajdeep sardesai is a gritty journalist. He’s unfazed by the stature of politicians who ever it is, yesterday he grilled Uddhav thackeray, the clown couldn’t respond to any of his questions and another one who is as brave as raj is Arnab Goswami of times now Responds:

    Will respond to your comment in a few hours.


    Read all the stories in your links & watched the video excerpt as well.

    Only in Incredible India do tempers flare up and trigger a firestorm of protests when someone says India belongs to all Indians. ๐Ÿ™

    Just you wait, while our netas schmucks fritter away their time in such frivolous fights and debates, Hu Jintao and his Yellow Monkeys will take a big bite out of India.

  4. iamsumu   February 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    This is probably not the forum for this but since someone made the comment before, let me add my 2paise.

    I’m surprised that many morons are angry that SRK is getting an angry response from Shiv Sena. They refuse to analyze his overt statements supporting Pakistan which has sponsored every major terror attack in India over 10 years. What do they expect regular people to do? Shut up and listen and write a letter?

    While I don’t support SS/MNS approach of brickbats and gheraos at least they stand for something as opposed to most other politicians who only come during elections or give statements. Responds:

    Don’t be surprised if the two losers have joined hands to get some free PubliShitty.

    SRK’s movies are hardly setting the box office on fire lately and the Shiv Sena got whipped during the recent elections, squeezed between the Scylla of the MNS and the Charybdis of the Congress.

  5. logu   February 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    @SI – Just you wait, while our netas schmucks fritter away their time in such frivolous fights and debates, Hu Jintao and his Yellow Monkeys will take a big bite out of India.

    That’s 100% true, there’s a saying in tamil ” oor rendu patta koothadikku kondattam”

    with these schmucks fighting and congress just watching it, it just gives the opportunities for yellow monkeys for a massive strike

    Just thought you would be curious to know

    beware it’s ur favourite actress!!!!! and a director’s who makes”Original” films. Responds:

    You write above: beware it’s ur favourite actress

    You mean that Rahu Kalam gal? ๐Ÿ™

    When Akshay Kumar started working with Rahu Kalam gal we realized Yamaganda Kalam had arrived for Akshay. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. StrYngLad74   February 7, 2010 at 12:00 am

    SI Said: “Donโ€™t be surprised if the two losers have joined hands to get some free PubliShitty”

    That’s exactly what is going on. SRK is a pusillanimous coward. It’s funny he didn’t do anything on his own, being the owner of the Kolkata IPL team, to pick a Pak player and in the wake of the nonsense (which included some unsavory comments about Hindus by former Hindu money-lover, Sohail Tanvir on a Pak morning show), he decided to go the capital and be all brazen and shit about the Shiv Sena. I’m not at all a fan of that shameless, self-promoting party, but seeing how shameless and self-promoting SRK is, they both deserve each other. Responds:

    Hinduon ki zahaniyat hi aisi hai??

    bagal meN chhuri/ muuNh meN Ram Ram??

    Ha ha ha. And this from the whacko nut-jobs who don’t have even a semblance of a govt.

    • StrYngLad74   February 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm

      Did you guys read Shahid Afretardi’s ball-chewing incident?

      And this guy was quoting Koranic verses and invoking his prophet over the IPL fiasco (how he was forgiving and would be back to the IPL…only to retract that statement the next day). He may have learned some form of forgiveness from his prophet, but not an ounce of intelligence or ethics, considering he was tampering a ball by biting it in plain view.
      Seriously, these moronic neighbors have an insane knack of invoking their religion over and over again. Responds:

      WTF will those stupid Pakis bite/eat next ๐Ÿ™

      One of these days when we (U.S.) come to our senses and cut off the oxygen supply (mucho $$ aid) to Pakistan, the Afridis will go back to the stone age, biting into/eating balls and stones.

  7. StrYngLad74   February 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm


    Afretardi claimed to an ABC reporter that he was actually “smelling the ball.” In a poll taken by Cricinfo, about 20% (last time I checked) voted that Afretardi was indeed smelling the ball. Care to guess how many non-Pakistanis were among that 20%?

    Hilarity ensues :D. Below is a near verbatim dialogue between the reporter and the retard.

    The Reporter: (etc.)…you might have actually put the cricket ball in your mouth, a couple of occasions.

    The Retard: No, uh, I just trying to smell it, uh how is feeling [sic].

    The Reporter: To smell it?

    The Retard: Ya..hahahahahaha!!

    The Reporter: But you don’t smell it with your teeth?

    The Retard: Sometime you can do…(pause)….don’t think negative questions [sic]. Responds:

    Listened to the YouTube interview.

    We think the whole thing is a conspiracy by RAW to undermine the ‘balls’ of the Pakistanis. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. siddhu085   February 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    thanks for the review.

    off topic – I haven’t seen a review of Invictus yet on SearchIndia. I saw it and its a really good movie..try watching it sometime Responds:

    Will do.

  9. Jyoti Ramakrishnan   February 9, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Good movie but don’t know if its oscar worthy but than again not even Avatar is oscar worthy. The only 2 nomination that Avatar should get is for technical effects and director. From the nominations, Up in the air, The Serious Man and Inglorious Bastards should be awarded. Responds:

    We haven’t seen The Serious Man… the other movies we’ve watched and enjoyed.

  10. Naveen   May 14, 2011 at 4:32 am

    I finally caught up with this movie. I agree with your review. It is a very good movie but not an all time classic or anything close to that stature.

    For me the director really impressed in the bomb diffusal scenes which were gripping, realistic and it made me feel part of the action.

  11. gandhiji   December 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Looks like Bigelow may hit pay dirt again at Oscars. Responds:

    There’s also Ben Affleck’s Argo, Ang Lee’s Pi and Spielberg’s Lincoln in the running.

    Except for Pi, the others are all American-themed movies.

    Oh, I forgot David Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook.

    I expect Ben Affleck to take home the statuette.

    We don’t know yet about Tom Hooper’s Les Misรฉrables, releasing on Christmas.

    • Naveen   December 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Argo was a very good movie and Affleck’s acting was also good.

      Maybe even his personal best but was it the best performance of the year? I am not sure.

      Hobbit and Django Unchained may take up some nominations too.

      Cloud Atlas and that Denzel Washington’s movie may also be among the picks. Responds:

      Cloud Atlas’ box office failure may work against it.

      Me thinks Denzel’s Flight is not Oscar material. But then I also thinks Allu Arjun is not acting material. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • gandhiji   December 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Have you read Les Misรฉrables/watched the previous movies? There are 7 different versions of the movie, so that may work against it. The 1998 version had a strong cast, but I still skipped that too. Responds:

      No seeing any version of film.

      I’ve likely read an excerpt or a condensed version in school (non-detail??) because the central character Jean Valjean and the story of the Bishop’s Candlesticks ring a bell in the dark recesses of my mind.

      But the mists of time have cast a veil over the details.

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