The Hurt Locker Discussion

hurt locker



Some military friends of mine have scoffed at the technical portrayal of defusing bombs presented in The Hurt Locker, citing inaccuracies such as the fact that such a small bomb-defusing crew would be sent out alone, and that crews were more accustomed to responding to situations than sniffing for bombs on deserted streets.  Other soldiers have defended the overall “truth’ or “feel’ of the movie as representing the experience adequately, if in broad strokes.    Thus we run up against the question of verisimilitude, or what I like to call truth effect.    To what extent are films that are not documentary responsible to getting technical details right.  Is there something in the idiom of film that presents special challenges, or requires a certain latitude?

35 Responses to “The Hurt Locker Discussion”

  1. Erik Rickards says:

    I think that for historical films such as The Hurt Locker (or any of the films we have watched in class, really), the creators of a movie have an imperative to maintain a close relationship with reality. I think that the majority of my belief in this stems from the fact that while we may understand the entities portrayed in media are fictional, in the context of historical fiction they are still derived from a very real culture and society– the citizens in Baghdad for example may be fictional, but they are still Iraqi citizens. I think that when we watch these films and see certain people groups portrayed inaccurately, even if we understand and try to fight it, our dispositions towards these groups will be altered. In this sense, even fictional films are real to us in some way– they all involve real things that we can all know and relate to. Of course some of these things may not impact us immensely (how accurate the bomb defusal is, for example), and that is where I feel it is appropriate for fiction to take its liberties. Ultimately, I think fiction is best when it is completely fictional– the more aspects of real society it includes, the more potentially dangerous the film becomes.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      This commentary is timely, with the Paris attacks recent. We often derive our “information” from movies, and sometimes it’s the only depiction we may have experienced of a certain nation or group of foreigners. I suppose that would be the justification for the accountability of fiction to actual history.

  2. Aaron Walling says:

    I don’t feel like certain movies to grab the precise details of war to tell a story. Movies like “The Hurt Locker” focuses more on the psychological issues and the characters themselves. Yes, reality for movies like this are hugely needed to grab the audience, however you don’t necessarily need the reality to make a great movie. For example, in “Saving Private Ryan” the fact that this movie is a historical fiction movie you see characters fighting for each other to save a kid named Ryan. This movie has some issues when it comes to technicalities, but the mood that was set overall was more important. The scene where the American soldiers storm Normandy Beach, you are gripped by their fear of dying. That’s why seeing “The Hurt Locker” was a good experience, because I don’t feel like exact details enhance a movie. Seeing scenes like the sniper scene, is a powerful example of the characters’ psyche being weighed down on by the heat, the fear of death, and the choice of relying on his fellow soldiers. Another point is the fact that the main protagonist returns to go defuse bombs, yeah some soldiers may view that as something that isn’t true, but other movies follow this style. For example, “Black-Hawk Down” has the same ending in a sense where both movies have them at the end going back out there to fight the fight for their country and fellow soldiers. Now we do have the other issues to movies like this, which include the fact that they are not having exact details. It can be important, a movie we watched early on in class was “All Quiet on the Western Front” which shows how trench warfare was like for the characters.
    All in all, “The Hurt Locker” was a great movie to watch, even if the details are not fully right.

  3. Heather says:

    I haven’t watched American Sniper so I can;t comment on how it was depicted. I do wonder though if this is less of the film makers problem and more a problem the public imparts on itself. What I mean is that, through the majority of war movies I have seen, “The Hurt Locker” included, I don’t think the end result is meant to be presented in a heroic manner. I saw a movie where men struggled with war and how it inflicted their life. If a viewer watches this film and thinks, yes, that is bad ass to possibly become so lost and high on adrenaline that I can’t be present for my family they are only seeing what they want to see and what the American public has excepted as heroic.Although, I share more with the wife in this story so of course I would see it from that angle. It’s interesting to me though that you had this take on it because I share these same feelings when I watch the GO ARMY commercials, considering they are actual propaganda it makes sense.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      When Apocalypse Now came out, in the theater somebody was saying “Hell yeah!” during certain scenes, and I thought, “Are we watching the same movie?”

  4. djrupp says:

    Personally, I didn’t find the movie to be terribly done or overly inaccurate in its portrayal (The lone squads, seeking bombs, actual bomb methodology, etc.) of what being on a bomb squad in a war zone would be like, though I think it does raise a particularly interesting point in that, though I’ll give the Hurt Locker a pass for now, I do honestly believe that if you are going to make a movie about the military (or a foreign land, for that matter) you should try and make it as accurate as possible. The reason I bring this up is because movies like American Sniper, no matter how accurate you want to try and (wrongly) argue that it is, portray the military in a way that makes idolization easy because what they depict seems so “cool” or “bad ass” when in reality what you’re seeing is an over simplified sham of what different sects of the military actually do or what different positions could offer you, should these movies (for whatever reason) inspire you to enlist. To play it shortly, I think a lot of these movies are more or less done in a propaganda sort of way to try and attract people to join up, whether it’s because they’re a racist that wants to murder middle easterners (coughAmericanSnipercough) or because they see The Hurt Locker and think they’re going to be lone hero that saves hundreds from a bomb detonation, and I think that if we’re at least going to continue to try and pretend that a lot of our fascination with movies about the military isn’t because of some sort of inbred false-patriotism, we should at least go through the effort of making them as factual as possible so that when the “based on a true story” blurb comes up at the start of each film, some of us can at least pretend to believe it.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      I must say that I also found American Sniper repellent for the reasons you state. It is a nationalistic video game, and picking off the “enemy” is mechanical and brainless. The movie just assumes that “we” are all going to have the same viewpoint.

  5. Courtney Thompson says:

    The Hurt Locker is a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow about members of a bomb disposal unit in Baghdad, with specific focus on adrenaline junkie Sergeant First Class William James. Due to this addiction, Sergeant James puts his team in some very hazardous situations that could lead to their death at any moment. Bigelow showed what many of the men and women in the military go through. They sign up to defend their country, they then become so accustomed to the military way of life and addicted to the constant action it brings to their life that they do not know if they could reintegrate well into civilian life. The Hurt Locker is an engaging film about a head strong cocky bomb tech but behind that narcism lies a man who is suffering from something he can not shake (Dickstein). All of these men and women are suffering from PTSD and the only thing they know in life now is the military so far to the point that even picking out cereal in the market is stressful. This film did have some inaccuracies though that were added for the Hollywood effect. Bomb techs do not clear out buildings, execute snipers, kick down doors, etc. there are specific people to do those tasks such as infantry or military police (NewsWeek). Bomb techs are to dispose of EOD’s safely and effectively, that is all. Main character William James was a loose cannon that no one could control but in real life there are rules and orders that you follow, there would be no running off of the base in the middle of the night to try to find a kid you are worried about (NewsWeek). Now although the film does have many accuracy issues the film overall hits the mark on how soldiers feel upon returning home and assimilating back into normal life.

    Films that are documentaries or are “based off of true events” owe the film and the individuals it is based off of to get the story as correct as possible. Films in general are made to entertain therefore stretching the truth and creating fictional stories to gain better numbers in the box off is to be expected. Not all movies are truthful as there sole purpose is to just please and connect with the audience on some level. The Hurt Locker for most audience members will be an intriguing, suspenseful, interesting story about a life they will never live; but for military members, bomb technicians, and even some police officers this movie was filled with inaccuracies that do not make the film completely enjoyable as they are sitting there dissecting it. Films cannot always be completely truthful and to the T perfection of real life as sometimes real life is not that suspenseful. Deployment can be sitting around in tents, doing patrols, cleaning, and establishing a United States presence, it is not always roadside bombs, suicide bombers, and threats. The danger is always there but does not always show its face. Kathryn Bigelow is a film maker therefore she created a movie that would hold the audiences’ attention. If it was a film instead about a bomb squad that sat around waiting for calls, did patrols here and there, went into town, got to know the locals, etc. it most likely would not be as popular as it was. Now although The Hurt Locker is filled with military regulation flaws, protocols that would never go through, and a Sergeant that would have been kicked out of the military at first sign of negligence, it did capture what soldiers go through. They are emotional and feel as though they are going to die at any moment. They get addicted to the deployment way of life that soon the civilian world ends up seeming so foreign. They become so disconnected that perhaps the family doesn’t even know who they are anymore. Films do not always have to be completely accurate but films that are based off of real events should at least honor what the individuals went through by getting the emotions correct and that is what The Hurt Locker did.

    Dickstein, M. (2010). War, Economy, History. Dissent (00123846), 57(3), 87-91.
    Newsweek Staff. “Veterans: Why ‘The Hurt Locker’ Isn’t Reality.” News Week. NewsWeek LLC, 23 Feb. 2010. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      This seems to me a fair, balanced and fair assessment of the film, what it attempts to do, the nature of cinema, and taking into account the reasons we go to the movies in the first place. Often we want to experience an emotional reality. If you sat the people who really complained–including soldiers–in front of an accurate documentary about the same subject matter, most of them would either turn it off or fall asleep.

  6. Heather says:

    You mention SFC James and how he approaches each situation without fear, I agree that he did with regards to his job and it’s environment but it’s interesting for me to examine how he did not seem to take the same approach with his family life while we saw one of his teammates long for home and struggle with war. I also like that you pointed out that sometimes films like this lead you to do your own research and I think that’s important, to not take thing as fact just because they are presented that way.

  7. Jessica Warnement says:

    This was actually my first time watching Hurt Locker, the main reason being that my husband was in the Army during its release, and being so closely associated with the military, all I heard was how terribly inaccurate the movie was, therefor making it bad, and not worth seeing. So I never got around to it.

    I personally enjoyed the movie and believe I received more than just a couple of hours of entertainment. My husband watched it with me, as I was curious to hear his personal opinion on its inaccuracies. He of course said similar things regarding small bomb crews not being sent out alone, explaining that bomb crews were always accompanied by a significant amount of soldiers, and that they did not go “sniffing” for bombs on deserted streets. They were always responding to a call about a possible, or known, bomb.

    However, while it is of course beneficial to be as accurate as possible when creating a film, I don’t think it is necessary. I felt that the intended take away for Hurt Locker wasn’t about the big picture of operating procedures, but on the minds of the soldiers. We see the main character; played by Jeremy Renner, approach every situation without hesitation or any sign of fear. On the other hand, we see the feeling of fear and failure quite clearly in the other soldiers.

    While I myself have not experienced anything remotely similar to tragedies of war, I feel that this film was an effective way of placing our minds in that of another, experiencing the chaos and confusion of war. Just as we had to try to understand the mind of a suicide bomber, here to we are trying to understand the mind of an individual willing to put their life on the line, every time they suit up to defuse a bomb. I can’t even imagine.

    When I watch movies that pertain to my career field, criminal justice/corrections/law enforcement, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t notice all of the inaccuracies, but I can say I don’t let it take away from the message of the film. I think it’s important to refrain from focusing on the details (while I know details are important), and instead to try to understand the message you’re being told. Many of the films we have watched during this course may or may not have been entirely accurate. But, some of these films inspired me to do my own research, so that I may learn more about what really happened. I find films based on historical events to be a necessary evil. They ensure a version of the story is told, and it is then up to us to understand, doing our best to relate or sympathize, and more importantly, to never forget.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      You are a typical film goer in this way. You can sit beside your husband and listen to him point out inaccuracies, but in the end, you’re not watching it for that reason. You’re entering an alternate reality, and in it, you’re looking for a deeper truth. You make a good point that those who want to know more always have ways of researching to get the “real” story.

  8. Mikayla Hamlin says:

    I think that the extent to which films are responsible of getting technical details right, definitely depends on the type of film. For films that are “based on real events” this concept might be more important, although it is still only based on true events, so you cannot expect every detail to match up. In a film like The Hurt Locker, it may be important because for people like myself, who have no idea of what standard military protocol looks like, it would be to the director’s advantage to correctly portray all the technical details in order to give others insight into what these soldiers do, and the ultimate sacrifices they make daily.

    In a documentary, it is completely necessary to get every detail right because it is a nonfiction form of film. The film would contain real footage of events as opposed to a reenactment of events in other types of film.

    There are also some limitations to film when creating a reenactment of certain events and striving to make it seem as realistic as possible. Ultimately it is just a reenactment and not the real deal. In a lot of the scenes in this film, there were massive explosions and gruesome shots of the individuals affected by the bombings. In today’s age there is so much available technology for film editing and special effects that I think the director did a good job creating some of the scenes in this film. I thought the scene at the beginning was pretty cool when they showed the bomb exploding in slow motion and the camera was focused on the rippling movement of the ground.
    We also have to remember that film is a form of artistic expression, so it is ultimately up to the director to decide the way they will go about presenting an idea or story in film. In this case, there are many films in which it is not necessary to focus on getting technical details right.

    • Courtney Thompson says:

      I feel the same way, the film did a great job at capturing the overall emotion and what it feels like day to day for these soldiers but there were many inaccuracies throughout the film. For a civilian this film gives an interesting look into a life they will never have but for soldiers it just depicts many untrue aspects. When my husband watched this film with me he was picking it apart. When I asked him if he is ever irritated by film makers not getting regulations, codes, actions, protocols, etc. correct he said that it does because it almost makes his job seem glamorous when its not. Of course films are made to entertain but with military movies that are partially based off of true event I think that the film makers should go out of their way to research how to correctly go about certain things. For certain audiences members maybe they won’t notice but to veterans and active duty I am sure they would be honored that a movie got it “right” for once.

      • Johnny Payne says:

        My son-in-law had the same reaction. He is a sergeant who did two tours of duty and he hates this move for the same reasons. The point well taken is that the more you get *details* right, the more an informed audience may be to accept your imaginative interpretation of other things, such as made-up characters. It must be said however, that nobody would pay to watch a movie that is not “glamorous,” just following somebody around through the tedium of daily life.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      I dare say if we examined war movies for accuracy, 90% would be found lacking. If you go back and look at Hollywood film movies from the 40’s and 50’s they were almost all propagandistic fantasies, which bore little or not resemblance to the reality of war.

  9. Shelly DeWilde says:

    According to Aristotle’s Poetics “when constructing a story, the imitation of life marks its extent of perfection” he wrote that “the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities.” Films regarding fiction do not have a responsibility except to make a film that captures the audience, as it is with most art however in the matter of making films regarding the topic of war I’m sure the director has be be attentive in not making a film that is not bias in regards to national affiliation. He or she must know that in the past most war films have been heavily judged due to false depictions of very real life past situations and that they must be aware of those audience members who have actually lived in it, and who they must know will be more critical of it.
    The movie The Hurt Locker is fast paced and from what I see very detailed in getting setting and environment correct, so it captured me as an audience member however there were scenes that were contradictory. Sergeant James stays true to the beginning of the films quote that “war is a drug” much like Paul Baumer staying true to the lesson from quote in the beginning of All Quiet. Each character then becomes paradoxical in what they represent from the beginning as I discovered more about their character. When Sanborn was walking through the streets hollering “USA friendly. Coming through!” I felt an irony for those Iraqi citizens who look at them with suspicion and derision. There was also the scene when James mistook the mutilated boy with a bomb inside as Beckham and swore it was him, only to be wrong, and Sanborn says “they all look the same,” similar to when Jane Livingstone says each trench is the same in the end of No Man’s Land.
    I see what the Film professor says when he says it is absurd that 3 man team is sniffing out for bombs and handling major risky mission, I got to the point where I was mentally screaming at Sergeant James to call for back up when he went on his Rambo mission to find the villain who detonated the bomb. I was feeling very ambivalent about James and Sanborn in the end, who I felt were more than just victims, which differed from so many of the other war films we’ve watched. Sanborn was clearly tired with this situation however James was stuck in this war game and I did not feel any closer to truly discovering why he is the way he is. He just is, the lesson being war got him addicted and living in any other way was not possible for him. In the latter he is similar to many of the soldiers in All Quiet but they were depicted as awfully disheartened and miserable unlike James.

    • Jessica Warnement says:


      You addressed a point I thought about when during my personal evaluation of Hurt Locker. Trying to understand why Sgt James approached his job, and seemingly obvious disregard for his own life, was of course quire difficult. How could we possibly understand a mind such as his?

      While his actions, in my opinion, were pretty reckless, his intentions did not come across that way. I found myself comparing it to that of Chris Kyle, recently portrayed by Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. Kyle was whole-heartedly committed to fighting for his country. Couldn’t we say the same for Sgt James?

    • Johnny Payne says:

      Thank you for bringing Aristotle into this conversation! Also, nice parallel to No Man’s Land and All Quiet.

  10. Heather says:

    I don’t know that I think film makers have a responsibility to get technical aspects right. I do think that in some stories it would probably serve them best to go at it with an all or nothing attitude. Why bother getting details accurate in one aspect of a film just to throw them out in another. There are probably a lot of topics, like diffusing a bomb, where there is only one right way to do it, but overall I think that it’s hard to always portray things truthfully because everyone has their own version of what is true. I also think that maybe scenes, like one where multiple bombs were found, are necessary for the general public because like me they have no knowledge of bombs and though one bomb would probably accomplish what was intended and any more is overkill, the viewer has an “oh shit” moment. There are things that need to be done in film to try and impart the feeling of what the character is going through onto the viewer. While most of us have never been in this situation something has to be done to make us feel excited, nervous, lonely, or scared and to empathize with the character. Maybe in life a team of such few people would never go disarm a bomb, but maybe that was the best way to put the viewer in a position to identify with the characters and what they were experiencing. I do think film makers must be cognizant that the act of creation is inherently an act of communication and that carries responsibilities. It’s important to have differing opinions of the same story because not every experience affects an individual the same. I appreciated the characters in this film and that at least to me SFC James was not your typical “hero” who could do his job and then come home to his happy family and then go do his job and so on, the struggle felt real. So, I guess I think it’s easier and more important to show truthfulness of emotion than in technicalities and maybe for that to take place sometimes the technical details have to be bent.

    • Mikayla Hamlin says:

      I agree that this film definitely focused on raw emotion rather than the technical details of correctly portraying how a bomb is defused and other military protocols.
      It was a good point that you made that this bomb disposal team was only made up of 3 guys in order to allow the audience to better identify with the characters and what they were experiencing. This is a good point because it is definitely easier to relate and sympathize with a couple characters that are being focused on rather than a team of 10 or more guys.

    • Jessica Warnement says:


      “Maybe in life a team of such few people would never go disarm a bomb, but maybe that was the best way to put the viewer in a position to identify with the characters and what they were experiencing.”

      My thoughts exactly. As you said, with everyone experiencing an event differently, it is important that emotional truth is more important than technical details.

      In the moments when we watched SFC James defuse a bomb (or bombs), my concern wasn’t on his backup (or lack thereof), it was simply on that moment. That moment when we hold our breath and anxiously wait to see if he’ll be successful in his endeavor.

    • brittanyhoch says:

      I had the same opinion, movies are meant to do something different than reality. Its meant to entertain, impart a message and make people think and feel about something outside of their ordinary lives. I felt like the film was trying to show regular people the stress, pressure and just the regular lives of people in these bomb squads. Film more then anything makes people FEEL and technical details aren’t always necessary to accomplish that goal, although in some cases they may help.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      You make valid observations here about the necessity for character empathy achieved through a point of view.

    • Haley Nelson says:

      I think you nailed what’s important for filmmakers to consider when producing a film. It may not be their responsibility to address all of the technical details, but it certainly couldn’t hurt to be factually accurate, especially if that’s an important element of the story. However, when truth becomes a subjective experience, I think you’re right; everyone’s version can be different. I would also agree that “film makers must be cognizant that the act of creation is inherently an act of communication and that carries responsibilities.” I think that in being cognizant, filmmakers can impart a story with more intimacy, and that, in and of itself, makes for a better film.

  11. brittanyhoch says:

    I think that getting the truth or feel of the film is important to an extent. Movies don’t claim to be truthful so we should all be aware of that. I don’t know anything about defusing bombs, and I assume the majority of people who see “The Hurt Locker” will not know much more than I do, so I can’t determine whether or not the movie depicted the technical details truthfully. Whether or not they were however did not make the movie have less of an impact. I don’t believe “The Hurt Locker” was meant to demonstrate proper bomb squad protocol, but more to give ordinary people an idea of what these people go through and how that experience affects people differently. While we should all realize movies are not reality, when we see a movie like “The Hurt Locker”, about something we don’t know, we tend to assume that it’s close to the truth, and for that reason I believe films should try to stay as true to truth as possible when dealing with technical details. However, that is not always easy; a film is meant to be entertaining and too much focus on the technical aspect may cost the film its entertainment appeal. On the other hand, technical details may add reality to a film and be the entertaining factor. For instance, in the movie when James is crawling around the car after it caught fire and was put out to defuse the bombs and he takes his bomb suit off to do it probably would never happen, but it added an aspect to his character and a level of suspense to keep the audience interested. If he would have just been called back and left after the shot was fired to ignite the car it would have been less entertaining and his character would have been perceived differently as well. It really comes down to the movie and the message the film maker is trying to get across to the audience. Movies don’t claim to be documentaries; some even say “based on a true story.” And while films like “The Hurt Locker” are different from films like “Star Trek” we wouldn’t expect technical perfection in “Star Trek” because it is easier to identify that is science fiction, but both are fiction, one is *based* on true events. In the end, I believe there should be some level of technical detail to remain as close to reality as possible without losing the entertainment value or message of the film.

    • Shelly DeWilde says:

      I agree that films should stay true to technical detail as possible but not to the extent that it takes away from the message of the film. The films we have been focusing on have been on war and the controversy it brings to both the audience and the world as a whole. The movie All Quiet sparked a film war on trying to counter propaganda and the idea that whomever controls the media conglomerate has the power to set the stage for the future. I believe war films should be more careful in trying to stay objective and true to real life events for the sake of the success of their film however still maintain its theme, its a tough balancing act.

      • Johnny Payne says:

        It seems that few films leave everybody feeling happy. If it’s not technical details, it’s the depiction of characters seen through self-interested nationalistic interests.

    • Johnny Payne says:

      Certainly no one would use this movie as a training manual! Great example with the bomb suit. A technical change means a change in our perception of the character. I love your Star Trek analogy. Luckily for them, no one ever objected, “That’s not what actual Klingons look like!”

  12. Johnny Payne says:

    A lot of smart thinking here, carefully parsed out. I love the way you break down the prerogatives of “feeling” vs. “fact.”

  13. Haley Nelson says:

    The amalgam of…things (for lack of a better word) that comprise a singular event in someone’s life is vast and bitterly complex. There are aspects of that experience that one can relate by repeating the benign facts; dates, times, chronologies, places, names, etc. But then there are aspects that transcend objectivity, and yet they are just as important to honoring the memory of that event as were the facts qualifying it. “The Hurt Locker” has been earned considerable criticism from those who believe objective facts are the end-all of accurate storytelling, and in truth, it may very well have fallen flat in maintaining a certain level of factual accuracy. However, the film has also been heavily praised for it’s deft illustration of what it is truthfully like to live, fear, laugh, bond, and die in a bomb squad. Perhaps stretching the objective truth was necessary to achieve such an end, but the same can be said of films who manipulate the less objective aspects to fit the objective. Ultimately, I believe that the ends, in this case, justify the means, and that “truth” is a far more inclusive term than it usually gets credit for.

    If it is the goal of the filmmaker to recreate a specific experience, presenting the truth should be of the utmost importance, which of course means gathering reliable information, collecting testimonies, fact-checking, etc. To generalize my stance, I believe it is absolutely the responsibility of the filmmaker to at least attempt to be accurate in their portrayal. However, there is significant leeway in how I believe filmmakers may approach repackaging the “truth,” for “truth” is not a concept that is relegated simply to objective facts. Truth can be subjective experience; comprised of batteries of emotions, individual realities, and/or unique perspectives. To accurately convey a specific event or subject, I content that there is just as much validity in honoring the facts as there is in honoring the personal realities of those involved.

    If we allow the definition of “truth” to be expanded in this way, we may then safely consider director Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” as an extremely accurate portrayal of the life of a bomb squad operating in Iraq, circa-2004. As can be gleaned from the film, the “accuracy” that is being sought is arguably not on the technical details surrounding bomb squad life and times, but rather on the emotional roller coasters that members of the bomb squad undergo. One will notice throughout the film the intense focus Bigelow places on recreating the “feel” of the events being portrayed. The camera work is shaky, desperate, paranoid, and unsure, and there is a distinct lack of cinematographic “cuing” that implies certain outcomes to a scene. The suspense and tension are palpable, the visuals are unforgiving in their horror, and the the responses to them by the characters are raw and hauntingly believable. The grand effect of these techniques is that the audience is made to feel as lost and frantic to analyze the situation as the characters themselves; the emotional realities of the bomb squad members become directly realized by the audience. Overall, the film has repackaged the emotional distress that comes with the bomb squad territory, and efficaciously reproduces their slice of emotional life. Is this not as valid a portrayal as one aimed at reproducing the technical details?

    The benefit of creating films like “The Hurt Locker” (those aimed at reproducing a “feeling” and not necessarily a “fact”) is that they contribute a level of intimacy and connection to past events that objective facts simply cannot accomplish on their own. By imparting the “feeling” of a time, event, or subject, the illustration of it becomes richer and easier to access, especially when time has distanced the film from its audience. This can be an invaluable contribution to history, and may even aid in future generation’s ability to avoid stepping back into unfavorable realities.

    • brittanyhoch says:

      I agree with you, to present the movie full of technical aspects and ‘truthfullness’ would have lost the affect of the film the director was trying to impart on the audience, which was the daily life of the people in bomb squads and what they have to deal with while perfomring their duty, not the duty itself. I think the idea of the film was focused on emotional rather than technical details and that made it a better film for the message it was trying to get out.

    • Shelly DeWilde says:

      I really like that your post dedicates itself to elaborating on the feelings that a film is portray and I agree that The Hurt Locker was a success in that regard. The chaotic reality it depicted was similar to how Apocalypse Now showed its unhinged soldiers behavior however they just barely stayed legal. The director gave Sergeant James such a unique character, he started out as a recklessly (inexcusable in real life) cool brave bomb defuser to a man who saw war as a game, to a man who had sympathy and ended as an addict who couldn’t escape or survive outside the war world. It’s hard to keep track of him or place him in comparison with the other characters we’ve watched throughout this course but the its fast pace kept me and pulled me into the the film so I was captured.

    • Mikayla Hamlin says:

      I really like this statement you made, “The grand effect of these techniques is that the audience is made to feel as lost and frantic to analyze the situation as the characters themselves” because that is exactly how I felt the entire time trying to watch this movie. I was lost and confused as to what was going on the entire time. I also think that the film was more focused on the emotions of the characters, then an actual timeline of events. For this reason, it was hard for me to watch because there seemed to be no plot to follow. But the director did a good job of allowing insight to the soldier’s emotional roller coaster of a job they have, and how it was just easier for Sergeant James to not feel or think about the repercussions of his job. It was also made clear what a living hell Iraq is, and it made me never want to go there.

Leave a Reply